The line of folks who want to fly to the stratosphere with Space Perspective's giant balloon just got a bit longer.
Space Perspective is partnering with the members-only vacation club Exclusive Resorts, which will become the first privately chartered travel group to fly aboard Spaceship Neptune, a pressurized capsule carried by a massive balloon, representatives of both outfits announced Wednesday (Sept. 16).
"The club has always sought ways to give members once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to see and explore the world in transformational, meaningful ways," Exclusive Resorts CEO James Henderson said in a statement. "Our partnership with Space Perspective will offer our members a unique view of our planet that only a few people have ever had the opportunity to experience."
Space Perpsective's piloted Spaceship Neptune will accommodate eight passengers in style. The vehicle will feature a bar, a bathroom and lots of big windows that afford great views of Earth from 100,000 feet (30,000 meters) up, about three times higher than passenger jets fly.
The ride up to that maximum altitude will be a smooth and silent one, for Spaceship Neptune will be lofted by a 650-foot-tall (200 m) hydrogen-filled balloon. Each flight will last about six hours and end with a parachute-aided ocean splashdown. (The capsule will be reusable, but a new balloon will be required on every flight.)
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Space Perspective has not yet disclosed a ticket price. But seats will likely cost about $125,000 apiece initially, company representatives said in June when they announced Space Perspective's plans.
Space Perspective plans to start making test flights early next year. Exclusive Resorts aims to send up at least 40 club members, starting in late 2024. These customers will also get behind-the-scenes information and experiences as part of the deal, Exclusive Resorts representatives said.
"We are thrilled to be giving Exclusive Resorts Members an opportunity to be among the first to view the world in a way very few have done before," Space Perspective co-CEO Jane Poynter said in the same statement. "I can't wait to hear members' stories about this unique and life-changing experience of seeing our Earth in space."
Mike Wall is the author of "Out There" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.