Spaceperspective, a commercial aerospace start-up, was founded on June 18 local time. The company plans to use a Neptune spacecraft composed of high-altitude balloons and capsule to send passengers and scientific loads to the stratosphere. The first unmanned test flight is scheduled to take place at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida in 2021.
The Neptune spacecraft, piloted by a pilot, can carry up to eight passengers on a six-hour high-altitude journey powered by a high-altitude hydrogen balloon about 200 meters high.
The capsule can be reused. Jane Poynter, founder and co CEO of spaceperspective, and Taber MacCallum hope that one capsule can complete 1000 flights. Neptune Spacecraft flies 100 times a year, but each mission requires a new balloon.
Neptune spacecraft is equipped with bars, washrooms and large windows for tourists to enjoy the scenery. The prevailing wind determines the direction of its flight with seasons. It flies East over the Atlantic Ocean in winter and West over the Gulf of Mexico in summer. The flight is supervised by the commercial space office of the Federal Aviation Administration.
Before starting the new company, the two had done a lot of flying projects together. In the 1990s, they took part in the Biosphere 2 experiment. A small group of people tried to live in a closed-loop ecosystem, simulating life on Mars.
In 2012, they also founded worldview, an Arizona based company that plans to use giant balloons to send payloads into the stratosphere. The companys high-altitude balloon module, known as Voyager, is priced at $75000. But as worldview gradually reduced its focus on high-altitude travel, Poynter eventually quit his CEO to pursue his dream of balloon travel.
Poynter stressed that Voyagers cabin design was completely different from Neptunes, with little technical overlap. Voyager will land under the parafoil, and eventually land on land, while Neptune will run entirely on high-altitude balloons, and finally land in the sea.
However, the nascent spaceperspective still has many problems to solve, Poynter said, at present, it has not decided where to produce Neptune spacecraft, or even where the companys headquarters is located. And because the flight direction of the spacecraft cannot be controlled, the spacecraft can only rely on the wind direction to determine the final destination.
Spaceperspective also needs to salvage the capsule from the sea. The start-up says it has been communicating with the salvage crew of SpaceX dragons return capsule to find the best way to achieve this goal.
Mans desire to overcome gravity never stops. Compared with the high altitude balloon business trip, the commercial space trip has a higher flight altitude. British billionaire Richard Branson founded Virgin Galactic in 2004, and Amazon CEO Bezos founded blue origin in 2000, which has long started the development of this project. SpaceX, founded by musk in 2002, is also working with other commercial space tourism companies to develop space tours.
Among them, Virgin Galactic originally planned to start its first commercial manned flight in the first half of 2020. About 600 people from 60 countries and regions booked the spaceship seats of the companys space tourism program, with each seat price ranging from $200000 to $250000. However, Virgin Galactic is still not about to start breaking the waves.