Space Perspective completes capsule for balloon-powered spaceship | Space

Space Perspective Neptune Excelsior Test Capsule Hero Dezeen 2364 Col 3 600x600.jpg

Space tourism company Space Perspective has unveiled a test capsule for its Neptune spacecraft that, buoyed by a giant balloon, could carry tourists into the stratosphere next year.

The pressurised capsule will embark on its first unmanned test flight over the coming weeks, with the aim to have a human-rated version of the spaceship ready for commercial flights by 2025.

Space Perspective unveiled a pressurised test capsule for its Neptune spaceship

Neptune is “only the third commercial suborbital spacecraft to ever be successfully built”, according to Space Perspective, following Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo and Blue Origin’s Crew Capsule.

The teardrop-shaped capsule was designed by London-based studio Of My Imagination to provide a markedly different experience from its forebearers.

Hauled by a hydrogen-filled balloon instead of a rocket engine, the Neptune capsule will travel at only around 12 miles per hour while generating a fraction of the emissions.

Travellers’ “journey to the edge of space” will last six hours – compared to Virgin Galactic’s 90 minutes – allowing them to enjoy onboard amenities including a cocktail bar and Wifi access.

“We like to joke that every self-respecting spaceship should have a bar,” co-founder Jane Poynter told Dezeen in an exclusive interview last year.

“And we talk about that because you really can’t do that on a rocket-based flight. It just is emblematic of how gentle it is that you can actually have a bar where people will be able to stand at and have a drink, and cheers.”

Since the spaceship won’t experience zero-gravity altitudes, it will also have a fully functioning toilet, which the company is calling the Space Spa.

At 4.9 metres in diameter, with an internal volume of 60 cubic metres, the spaceship has roughly two times the volume of its…

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