Space Perspective is a new startup that has devised balloon trips to the stratosphere, with which it aims to be an alternative to space tourism in conventional ships.
Space tourism is expected to be one of the fastest growing sectors in the coming decades; companies like SpaceX already see it as an important source of income, complementing the contracts with NASA.
The problem is, of course, in the price. Only the richest people in the world can travel aboard a spacecraft, and that’s not expected to change in the near future; but there may be a cheaper alternative.
Balloon trips to the stratosphere
Founded in 2019, Space Perspective is a startup that has remained hidden until today, when it presented its great project: balloon trips that allow us to get a little further from the Earth, and a little closer to space.
Unlike other projects, there is no ‘trip into space’; after all, the balloon would ‘only’ reach an altitude of 30 kilometres, and the Karman Line, considered the ‘edge of space’, is at an altitude of 100 kilometres. Therefore, if you take part in this journey you will not be able to say that you were in space.
But you will be able to tell a unique experience. At an altitude of 30 kilometres, the views are breathtaking; the curvature of the Earth is perfectly noticeable (listen to this flat earthers), and the effect of the light impacting on the atmosphere is like a film. Witnessing such a spectacle is what this startup really offers, which will plan the trips to coincide with the sunrise.
More “affordable” trips
The trips would be made aboard the Spaceship Neptune, a ship under development with capacity for eight passengers and a pilot; a big difference even from capsules like the SpaceX Crew Dragon, which only allows one passenger besides the astronauts.
The Space Perspective capsule would be launched from the Kennedy Space Center, where many missions like the historic SpaceX astronaut launch begin. However, instead of using rockets, the ascent would be achieved with a giant hydrogen balloon attached to the capsule.
The climb would take two hours, and the total trip would be six hours, during which time tourists would have freedom of movement and of course, they could take souvenir photos.
Hydrogen balloon launches are not uncommon, especially for scientific experiments; this zone of the stratosphere is similar in some aspects to space (like the vacuum). Therefore, it is not an absurd or too futuristic project to make it real.
In fact, the most shocking thing is the price of the adventure: about $125,000 for each passenger; that puts it within the reach of many ‘nouveau riche’, and is half the price of the cheapest trip to space, which Virgin Galactic offers for now with its SpaceShipTwo.