Space Perspective completes test capsule

Big step forward for test flights planning of Spaceship Neptune (Excelsior)

Space Perspective has this week released images of its completed test capsule. With its first SpaceBalloon finished and its launch vessel, Marine Spaceport Voyager, in its final stage of preparation, Space Perspective is beginning to eye its test flights window.

The test capsule, which is named Excelsior – in honour of late balloon space-jump pioneer, Joe Kittinger – is now the largest spaceflight capsule in existence and represents a significant milestone in US entrepreneurship and the first commercial spacecraft designed, developed and manufactured without the backing of a billionaire or significant government funding.

Soon to be the largest human spacecraft in operation (excluding space stations), Spaceship Neptune’s spherical capsule is 4.9 metres in diameter, providing a pressurised volume of more than 60 cubic metres – roughly two times the volume of Virgin Galactic’s Spaceship Two and Blue Origin’s New Shepard, and about four times that of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon.

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Entering the interior of the finished capsule for the first time just last week, capsule design lead, Dan Window, was overcome with emotion.

“It’s been over a decade of work with Jane (Poynter) and Taber (MacCallum),” Window said of his long-standing relationship and collaboration with Space Perspective’s Founders and Co-CEOs. “I teared up. To see our designs become reality and to know that we will be taking people to space to have this life-changing experience in this beautiful capsule. It’s a dream.”

“The space capsule is like nothing the world has ever seen,” said MacCallum, who is also Space Perspective’s CTO, noting the capsule’s massive windows, iconic design, and spacious interior.

“We are on the cusp of a staggering shift – not only in the way we humans experience space but also what we conjure in our minds when we think of the spaceship that gets us there. We are redefining the category and paving the way for accessible space travel for years to come.”

Space Perspective’s revolutionary spaceflights offer customers, who they call Explorers, a transformative six-hour journey inside a capsule lifted by a SpaceBalloon at ~12 mph. With no rockets or heavy g-forces, it’s the most accessible way to travel to space and as easy as being on an airplane.

Inside the capsule, Explorers will enjoy the comforts of the world’s first Space Lounge, complete with Wi-Fi, a world-class culinary program, plush seating and luxury amenities provided by its growing list of partners, panoramic views through the largest windows ever flown to space – even a proper restroom (dubbed the Space Spa).

Space Perspective aims to begin taking its more than 1,750 current ticket holders – more than any other space tourism company – to the edge of space in 2025, and is expected to hit 4,000 seats sold – US$400 million in bookings – by the end of this year. Approximately 35% of its current customers can be attributed to international markets, but that number continues to grow.

Initial flights will launch off the Space Coast of Florida. The company is currently in talks to bring operations to the Middle East, Asia, and Europe, where there is significant interest in participating in the new space economy and in bolstering regional cultural moments and offerings through space tourism and space activation.

A seat on Spaceship Neptune costs US$125,000. A full capsule (eight seats) costs US$1,000,000 and accounts for 50% of reservations within the travel trade industry, which plays an important role in securing these bookings. While tickets are sold out for the next few years, interested customers can discuss waitlists and upgrade options, especially for some of the earlier flights.

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