Want to go into space but not ready for a rocket ride? Space Perspectives’ hot air balloon will carry you and your friends in their Spaceship Neptune capsule to 100,000 feet above the earth. From there, you’ll hover for two hours, ascending in darkness to catch the sunrise over the curve of the earth from an amazing vantage point.
How does Space Perspective’s balloon work?
Basically, this is how “space flight” started, and how NASA and other scientists get atmospheric testing equipment above most of the earth’s atmosphere. A lift gas that’s lighter than air floats a massive, larger-than-a-football stadium balloon up, expanding as it rises into lower pressure areas. By the time it’s at 100,000 feet, it’s fully blown up.
Dangling below it is the Spaceship Neptune, tethered by a reserve parachute like the ones used by NASA’s earlier space missions to bring crew capsules back down to earth. Like them, you’ll land in the ocean, but it’ll be more controlled since the main balloon is adjusted to descend under control. Here’s the basic flight path:
For reference, 100,000 feet (30km) is 18.94 miles. Which is really, really high, but it’s not quite “space”.
Depending on who you ask, “space” starts at anywhere from 50 to 62 miles above mean sea level. The higher of the two is where the atmosphere is too thin for winged aircraft to maintain lift. To go higher, they’d need to propel themselves to
Outer space is way further out, about 600 miles above sea level. That’s where you’re actually outside of earth’s atmosphere entirely, so technically the International Space Station (~240 miles on average) isn’t even in outer space.
How much does Space Perspective’s balloon ride cost?
Technicalities and semantics aside, this still looks amazing. And it should. Each trip aboard Space Perspective’s Spaceship Neptune capsule costs $125,000 per passenger. While you won’t get the rush of being strapped inside a rocket, you could do this twice for the cost of a Virgin Galactic flight…and have a better chance of it actually happening. And it’s far less expensive than SpaceX and Blue Origins’ planned space tourism flights.
The capsule has nine plush recliners for eight passengers plus a pilot. A refreshments bar, bathroom, and gear storage are all there, and the glass is coated to reduce reflections so your photos turn out better. They even have WiFi so you can live stream your experience, because if you don’t share it, did it really happen?
Put your $1,000 deposit down now and you’ll get early updates, tour opportunities at their build facility in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and more perks. First flights are scheduled for 2024, total flight times are six hours.