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Sat, Dec 23, 2023

‘Spacefaring’ Balloon Capsule Unveiled

High-Altitude LTA Tourism Operator Moving on to Test Flights

Space Perspective, the "world's first carbon-neutral spaceflight experience company" showed off the first peeks at its Neptune testbed.

The capsule serves as a first look at what future tourists will be using to travel upwards into the heights of the atmosphere, suspended under one of the firm's SpaceBalloon. Appearing somewhat similar to terrestrial bathospheres, Spaceship Neptune will be accompanied upward with the large balloon and a reserve descent system. The finished testbed capsule will be flown in Space Perspective's upcoming uncrewed test flights, with occupied ones expected to take place later on in 2024. In 2021, the company flew a smaller capsule simulator to space, and has since been hard at work on the overall design's behavior in "all corner cases and off-nominal scenarios" to ensure a high standard of safety.

Even Space Perspective's test capsule will remain "highly instrumented", representing what the company will fly in earnest once commercial service begins. The "Space Lounge" will will be missing from the testbed, given the cost and expense involved in outfitting the luxe accommodations. Without paying customers to impress during the test regimen, Space Perspective can spend the money better elsewhere. Manufacturing for the capsule remains in-house, all being done at the company's Melbourne, Fla. facility. The SpaceBalloon's 700-foot-long forms are sewn together nearby, at the Seely SpaceBalloon Factory. The launch vessel, the Marine Spaceport Voyager, will "soon arrive at its home port" on the Space Coast to support test flight operations.

Ahead of the milestone, Space Perspective co-CEO and CTO Taber MacCallum drew attention to the roster of talent collected by the company, saying it's "one of the greatest iterative collaborations I have ever seen." MacCallum remains impressed by the entire crew as they break new ground in the unorthodox niche of space travel via lighter-than-air flight. "I'm incredibly proud of our Engineering team. The entire company is hugely motivated by reaching this milestone together and seeing Spaceship Neptune come to life before our eyes so spectacularly."

FMI: www.spaceperspective.com

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