Space Perspective plans to fly passengers and research payloads to the edge of space with its Spaceship Neptune, a high-performance balloon and pressurised capsule.
The human space flight company plans to launch from the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, with the first un-crewed test flight scheduled in early 2021 that will include a suite of research payloads.
“We’re committed to fundamentally changing the way people have access to space – both to perform much-needed research to benefit life on Earth and to affect how we view and connect with our planet,” said Space Perspective Founder and Co-CEO Jane Poynter. “Today, it is more crucial than ever to see Earth as a planet, a spaceship for all humanity and our global biosphere.”
Spaceship Neptune was developed from the ground up for maximum safety, accessibility, near zero-emissions and routine operations around the world. The balloon measures the length of a football stadium and the pressurised capsule is comfortable and spacious.
“Following the return of human spaceflight from U.S. soil just a few weeks ago, people have never been more excited about space travel,” said Founder and Co-CEO Taber MacCallum. “Few endeavours are more meaningful than enabling people to experience the inspiring perspective of our home planet in space for the betterment of all, and that’s what we are accomplishing with Space Perspective.”
UK design company PriestmanGoode is working in partnership with Space Perspective on Spaceship Neptune.
Nigel Goode, Designer and Co-Founder of PriestmanGoode says “”We’ve worked in close partnership with the team behind Space Perspective for many years now. Neptune is a great project to work on, it’s the culmination of a long-term collaboration that has resulted in the only spaceship that is designed with the human experience at its core and will pave the way for the future of commercial space travel.”
The capsule has been designed from the inside out. Goode continues, “Our starting point was the passenger experience. We looked at all the different elements that would make the experience not just memorable, but truly comfortable as well and included essentials for a journey of six hours, like a lavatory. We wanted to make sure that passengers would be able to get 360-degree unobstructed views and that we created an efficient space that would enable them to move around during the journey. Meanwhile, we needed to minimise weight and create a highly functional environment for the pilot. All these elements guided the shape of the final capsule.”
Flown by a pilot, Neptune takes up to eight passengers called “Explorers” on a six-hour journey to the edge of space and safely back, where only 20 people have been before. It will carry people and research payloads on a two-hour gentle ascent above 99% of the Earth’s atmosphere to 100,000 feet, where it cruises above the Earth for up to two hours allowing passengers to share their experience via social media and with their fellow Explorers. Neptune then makes a two-hour descent under the balloon and splashes down, where a ship retrieves the passengers, the capsule, and the balloon. Neptune’s commercial human spaceflight launches are regulated by the FAA Office of Commercial Spaceflight.
“The design of the capsule is a critical component of providing our Explorers the inspirational experience that Astronauts describe of seeing our Earth in space. We are thrilled to be working with Nigel and his talented team at PriestmanGoode,” said Poynter.
“Space Perspective is developing a uniquely accessible space travel experience. The team at PriestmanGoode worked with us to create that experience with Spaceship Neptune, giving it an off-world yet classic design, while meeting a wide range of human factors, engineering, manufacturing and operating requirements,” said MacCallum.
Science and education are also core to Space Perspective’s mission, and the company is working with researchers, educators and students from academic institutions and organisations. Payloads are already being manifested to fly on the first test flight in 2021. Neptune is suited for research areas of interest such as: atmospheric science that could shed light on Earth’s climate and air systems, astro- and solar-physics to illuminate understanding of the universe, as well as astrobiology to explore the limits of life on the planet and beyond.
Space for Humanity, a non-profit organisation, has chosen Space Perspective as a preferred partner for their Citizen Astronaut Program and scientific research.
“Space for Humanity is cultivating a movement to expand access to space for all of humanity, and this partnership represents a big leap in making that happen,“ said Dylan Taylor, Founder of Space for Humanity and CEO of Voyager Space Holdings. “We are excited about the possibilities this partnership opens up for us, and what it means for all the participants that will be able to view our home planet from the edge of space.”
Space Perspective has signed a lease agreement with Space Florida, the state’s aerospace and spaceport development authority, to locate its first Operations Center at the Midline Building at the Launch and Landing Facility (LLF), formerly known as the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF). Space Florida currently operates and manages the LLF and accompanying facilities under a 30-year property agreement with NASA.
Space Perspective and NASA have entered into a Space Act Agreement under which NASA may provide uniquely capable services available at KSC to Space Perspective on a reimbursable basis. In addition to launching from KSC, Space Perspective will launch from Cecil Spaceport in Florida, and is planning to have future launch sites around the world, including Alaska, Hawaii and several international spaceports.