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Can't afford Blue Origin tickets? This space balloon company has a much cheaper near-space trip
Ready to save a few pennies and take a trip into the stratosphere? The Florida-based company Space Perspective has recently opened up seat reservations for its lofty "Spaceship Neptune," a pressurized capsule attached to a giant balloon engineered to carry eight passengers and one pilot to an altitude of 100,000 feet for a bargain price of $125,000 per seat.
Technically the Karman Line is where the imaginary boundary of space starts some 62 miles above Earth. But for a fraction of the cost of a $28 million ticket to board Blue Origin’s New Shepard capsule with Jeff Bezos, you can still get a pretty impressive view of our planet. Plus that spaceflight only lasts 11 minutes. Barely enough time to catch your breath or pop open a ginger ale.
From liftoff to touchdown, Spaceship Neptune passengers spend roughly six hours on board the capsule during their serene balloon flight, which lifts them above 99 percent of our planet’s atmosphere and reveals the cold blackness of space against the curvature of Mother Earth.
Space Perspective is targeting the end of 2024 to begin commercial operations and has just completed its initial test flight from the Space Coast Spaceport in Florida on June 18.
This unmanned flight employed a full-size Spaceship Neptune simulator and lasted a total of six hours and 39 minutes. The sleek craft attained a maximum altitude of 108,409 feet and finally splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 50 miles off Florida's west coast.
"I could not be more proud of the performance of the team and the flight system," Space Perspective co-CEO and co-founder Taber MacCallum said in an official statement.
"This test flight of Neptune One kicks off our extensive test flight campaign, which will be extremely robust because we can perform tests without a pilot, making Spaceship Neptune an extremely safe way to go to space.”
Space Perspective’s unique form of space tourism reminds prospective passengers that the entire experience will be luxurious and low-impact with a soothing ascent and gentle touchdown. No high G-forces or rocket engine vibrations as you recline in comfy seats while sipping a cocktail and staring out the panoramic windows at some spectacular sights. It even has a restroom for when nature calls.
Aboard that June 18 test flight were scientific payloads among which were winning entries of a science competition for middle grade and high school students arranged by the nonprofit Higher Orbits, and an ozone-detecting tool developed by scientists at the University of Northern Florida.
Spaceship Neptune's flights are already sold out for 2024 but 2025 is still available!