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Space Perspective unveils lavish interior of balloon-borne tourist capsule

The newly unveiled interior of Space Perspective's balloon-borne stratospheric capsule.
The newly unveiled interior of Space Perspective's balloon-borne stratospheric capsule. (Image credit: Space Perspective)

Space Perspective wants its passengers to fly in style.

The Florida-based company is working to send paying customers (as well as research payloads) to the stratosphere aboard its "Spaceship Neptune," a pressurized capsule that will cruise high above Earth beneath an enormous balloon. 

Space Perspective just released artist's illustrations of the interior of Spaceship Neptune, which will include 360-degree panoramic windows and even a restroom with a view. The announcement Tuesday (April 12) coincided with the anniversary of the first human spaceflight by cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in 1961.

Based on the imagery, Spaceship Neptune's cabin appears to come in at least a couple of configurations. One has reclining seats, for example, while another with couches can accommodate a "more intimate dinner for two or special event," Space Perspective representatives said in a statement on Tuesday. 

Space Perspective will provide food and beverage services, and the capsule features mood lighting that can be dimmed to see stars or the curvature of Earth outside.

Related: The first space tourists in photos

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Another configuration of the interior of Spaceship Neptune's cabin. (Image credit: Space Perspective)

Also included in the capsule's "Space Lounge" will be a telescope, interactive screens and decorations such as floor lamps and plants to "remind us of the interconnected nature of our planet," the company added.

"Our mission is to inspire space explorers to connect more closely with our planet and each other, and the environment in which they travel with us is central to this," Jane Poynter, founder, co-CEO and chief experience Officer of Space Perspective, said in the same statement. "Our Space Lounge is a world away from the white, utilitarian environments you find in other spacecraft."

A typical Space Perspectives mission will lift off at dawn and will take about two hours to reach the maximum altitude of 100,000 feet (30 kilometers). Spaceship Neptune will glide for two hours at such heights, then take another two hours or so to descend leisurely toward an ocean splashdown, after which it will be retrieved by ship.

Space Perspective hopes to begin commercial flights in 2024, with paying passengers expected to pony up about $125,000 apiece for the opportunity. For comparison, Virgin Galactic currently charges $450,000 per seat on its suborbital flights. Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, which also offers suborbital rides, has not released general pricing details yet.

So far, there are about 600 people on Space Perspective's waiting list; each has made a refundable deposit of as little as $1,000. The company has raised millions of dollars in seed funding and made a successful uncrewed test flight from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida in 2021.

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Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a contributing writer for Space.com (opens in new tab) since 2012. As a proud Trekkie and Canadian, she tackles topics like spaceflight, diversity, science fiction, astronomy and gaming to help others explore the universe. Elizabeth's on-site reporting includes two human spaceflight launches from Kazakhstan, and embedded reporting from a simulated Mars mission in Utah. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc (opens in new tab). in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, and a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University. Her latest book, NASA Leadership Moments, is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday.