Imagine looking out of a 360-degree window and seeing the beauty of planet Earth below you. No longer exclusive to just astronauts, space travel is becoming a reality for the public thanks to the increasing demand for commercial space exploration.
With the goal of providing as many people as possible with an astounding view of Earth, Space Perspective reimagines space travel through the use of its pressurized capsule.
With the goal of providing as many people as possible with an astounding view of Earth, Space Perspective reimagines space travel through the use of its pressurized capsule, Spaceship Neptune, which is propelled by a giant space balloon.
Spaceship Neptune doesn’t “blast off” into space, but instead takes a slow approach, moving at 12 miles per hour as it carries passengers to 100,000 feet above Earth. Described as gentle and peaceful, the entire flight process takes six hours, with two hours spent traveling up to space, two hours spent taking in the breathtaking views of the earth below, and two hours to return.
“It’s about the size of the Washington Monument when it launches, and it’s just a very graceful ascent,” says Space Perspective Founder, Co-CEO and CTO Taber MacCallum. “We flew Alan Eustace, who broke the world record for human ballooning, and he said really it was quite amazing to travel to space so slowly and that you could see the scale of the earth changing.”
Space Perspective Founder, Co-CEO, CXO and MacCallum’s wife Jane Poynter, says that space travel helps people develop a different sense of the size of our planet and atmosphere, and it’s not as big as many think, which has inspired greater reverence and a desire to care for our planet.
“What’s astonishing is that from that point of view, it takes us two hours to get up to space, and we’re at about 99 percent of the atmosphere,” Poynter says. “Our atmosphere is 20 miles thick; it looks like it goes forever, but you really get a feel of how it does not go forever.”
The couple has a long career history in space innovation and exploration. Both were crew members for Biosphere 2, an enclosed ecosystem designed to test the viability of humans in space.
“Both Jane and I had a desire to explore and see the earth, then we both got recruited to be crew members in the Biosphere 2 project, and that had created an experience for us that when we spoke with astronauts afterwards was strikingly similar to space travel,” MacCallum says.
They also founded Paragon Space Development Corporation, focused on improving and perfecting spacecraft technologies, including for the International Space Station, and the two served as technical advisors to Elon Musk regarding human spaceflight prior to the launch of SpaceX.
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“Taber and I have worked our entire careers on spaceflight—human space flight—and this idea of using a space balloon has just completely opened up the whole idea of space flight so that almost anyone can go,” Poynter says.
Each Space Perspective flight will include up to eight guests and a crew member, and the circular seating arrangement allows for everyone to get an out-of-this-world view of Earth through the capsule’s large windows. No special training is required for this kind of space travel.
“You’re seeing the earth in the blackness of space, what could be more beautiful than seeing our planet from that perspective?” MacCallum said.
“We are also able to reconfigure the capsule so that there’s space for events,” he added.
“When you talk to astronauts about this experience of seeing Earth in space, they really talk about it in very moving terms, for many of them it's changed their lives.”
Exchanging wedding vows, proposing to the person you love or celebrating a birthday in space will soon be a reality, with a bar area included in the space flight capsule.
In addition to being an incredibly unique event space, Space Perspective is also the only carbon neutral flight for space travel.
“The capsule itself is reused, so that is no-net effect, and then we offset the carbon from the manufacturing of the capsule,” MacCallum says. “The lift gas that goes in the balloon is hydrogen, so when we release that hydrogen after the flight, it has no net of global warming effect and the balloon itself is recycled.”
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Environmental issues are something that the couple takes seriously, and they say that getting the unique perspective of the planet from space can be eye-opening.
“When you talk to astronauts about this experience of seeing Earth in space, they really talk about it in very moving terms, for many of them it’s changed their lives,” Poynter says. “It’s actually been proven that when they come back from space, they get much more involved in social and environmental causes than they were before they went.”
“Imagine a society where hundreds of thousands, even eventually millions of people, have had that life changing experience of seeing Earth by traveling to space,” she added.
How much does it cost to experience the beauty of the Earth in a Space Perspective capsule?
“The full price is $125,000 a seat, and we’re asking for people to put down a deposit now, which is also refundable,” Poynter says.
“We are very excited about being able to take people up starting in 2024. We’ve got a couple of years between now and taking people to space, and so we are developing really fun events that we’re going to be inviting people to make this an enduring experience that results in the once-in-a-lifetime experience of space travel.”