In a time when the free market is alive and well in the Brevard County space program — SpaceX is now successfully launching satellites into orbit and astronauts into space, and Virgin Atlantic and Blue Origin have ideas of making single-ride astronauts out of regular people — a pair of science entrepreneurs have launched a company that aims to send ordinary people to the edge of space in a high-performance balloon.
Jane Poynter and Taber MacCallum, a married couple, are behind Space Perspective, which made its introductions Thursday. The Neptune capsule, a reusable pressurized capsule, will be able to carry eight passengers to the edge of space. Riders, who would pay around $125,000 each to travel — that’s not in stone, so start saving up — on the six-hour mission. It would take two hours to reach 100,000 feet of elevation in the hydrogen balloon, and then spend two hours floating there before a descent and splashdown in the ocean, where a boat would pick up the party.
It would be a vessel for science — and fun. It will have room to fly research payloads and experiments that could study climate change, the atmosphere and the origins of life in the universe. But it would also include a bar, bathroom and an unobstructed windowed dome at the top of the capsule. Riders would be able to wear their regular clothes.
Poynter and MacCallum are the minds behind the environmental systems for the Biosphere 2 prototype “bubble environment” in the 1990s.
“Even then we talked about our destiny as a multi-planetary species, a vision whereby humans explore space for the betterment of all. This is our quest,” reads a release from the pair on Space Perspective’s website. “We hold that space is for everyone – we are after all already in space. And we must see it to really believe it.”