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Company plans space tourism flights in high-altitude balloon

By | Rachel Brooks

Staff | Telegraph Local 

See | The New African Living Standard

Above, the Kennedy Space center photographed from the outside in 2007. Created by Joshua Hallett. CC By SA 2.0 Generic.

A company plans space tourism flights in a high-altitude balloon. This was reported by CBS News at 8:06pm on June 18. “Spaceship Neptune” which is operated by the Space Perspective company from leased facilities at the NASA Kennedy Space Center will launch high-altitude balloon tours. The tours will carry eight passengers at a time. They will last for six hours each. The passenger cabin will be lifted by a hydrogen-filled balloon. The balloon will climb at a speed of 12 miles per hour to a 30-mile-high altitude. Then, the balloon will slowly descend and splash land in the Atlantic Ocean. From there, a recovery ship will be on standby to recover crew and passengers. 

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The space floating tour won’t begin right away. Science hasn’t yet mastered the perfect path. Test payloads are expected to go up by 2021. Within the next three and a half years, flights carrying passengers are expected to ascend. 

The company has designs to begin operations out of the Florida spaceport. From there, if successful, the idea is to launch to multiple locations around the world. Hawaii and Alaska are other “near term” possibilities on the slate of this Jules Verne dream come to life. 

The space flight tour is worth a pretty penny as well. The initial cost of tickets are looking at $125,000 per passenger. However, this is half the cost of what a space cruiser would expect to pay to tour  suborbital flights aboard rocket-powered space planes. Such tours are being developed by Virgin Galactic. These will reach altitudes of more than 50 miles, citing CBS, in a story that was reported May 10, 2019. 

TechCrunch also followed up the story on the startup Space Perspective’s big dreams. Space Perspective has been described as a “non-commercial” space business with “non-traditional” space tour craft. This is due in part to the fact that a 30-mile altitude is technically not space, but the outermost edge of the atmosphere, or the stratosphere. 

The Verge reports that the people behind the Space Perspective brainchild, Jane Poynter and Taber MacCallum are familiar names from the WorldView project. This team of high-sky floating dreamers argues that those who tour with Space Neptune pods will be above 99 percent of the world’s atmosphere. 

The Verge reports that the company is already paving the way toward its big dream, preparing to launch Stratollites_which is a vehicle like a satellite but does not actually orbit the Earth_as early as this summer. 

Poynter spoke with The Verge regarding some of the fancy plans the company has for live streaming events from aboard their vessels. 

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“For special events where we really want to livestream something from the Neptune, we will have a swankier communication system that will be able to do really high resolution, broadband live streaming,” said Poynter as she was quoted by The Verge. 

Space Neptune capsules are spherical, white capsules with open-faced windows. They have the appearance of something from space operatic fiction. The dream of humans frequenting the stars is rapidly becoming reality with projects such as this. 

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