Take a Look Inside a Luxury Balloon That Serves Martinis at the Edge of Space

Take a Look Inside a Luxury Balloon That Serves Martinis at the Edge of Space
Conceptual view of the cabin interior. (Image: Space Perspective)

Space Perspective has revealed the cabin design for its upcoming Spaceship Neptune — a balloon-held capsule that, for the lofty price of $US125,000 ($173,525), will take passengers to the edge of space.

Liftoffs aren’t slated to begin until late 2024, but newly released conceptual images of the Spaceship Neptune passenger cabin offer an early glimpse of what the experience could look like. But at $US125,000 ($173,525) per seat, this is probably as close as any of us will ever get to actually stepping inside this thing.

Rising above

Spacecraft Neptune will feature large windows and a cosy interior.  (Image: Space Perspective)Spacecraft Neptune will feature large windows and a cosy interior. (Image: Space Perspective)

The climate-controlled, pressurised interior cabin will be held aloft by a balloon as it rises to the stratosphere. Reaching a height of 32 km (30 kilometers), passengers will have a 360-degree view of their surroundings, from which they’ll be able to see the curvature of Earth. The passengers will be able to see 450 miles (724 km) in any direction, as well as the blackness of space. By comparison, passenger jets fly at heights reaching 7.9 miles (12.7 km).

Almost space

A full-service bar will be available for passengers.  (Image: Space Perspective)A full-service bar will be available for passengers. (Image: Space Perspective)

But as for actually being in space, well, that’s not going to happen. The Kármán Line — the internationally recognised boundary of space — is located 62 miles (100 km) above sea level, far from the maximum height obtainable by the disingenuously named Spaceship Neptune. That said, a refreshing cocktail or two will console you when you finally realise that you spent all that money to not go to space.

A bargain, kind of

Conceptual view showing the Spaceship Neptune exterior. (Image: Space Perspective)Conceptual view showing the Spaceship Neptune exterior. (Image: Space Perspective)

Still, the experience promises to be a good one, and at a fraction of the cost of going to bona fide space. A quick, suborbital trip on a Virgin Galactic spaceplane costs $US450,000 ($624,690) while Axiom Space charges $US55 ($76) million for a trek to low Earth orbit and a stint on the International Space Station.

A shared experience

The capsule will feature deep, reclining seats, interactive screens, and configurable mood lighting.  (Image: Space Perspective)The capsule will feature deep, reclining seats, interactive screens, and configurable mood lighting. (Image: Space Perspective)

For the interior design, Space Perspective aimed for a look that’s sleek and dynamic, as opposed to the “white, utilitarian environments you find in other spacecraft,” Jane Poynter, the founder, co-CEO and chief experience officer for Space Perspective, said in an emailed press release. And in keeping with its environmentally friendly message, the company plans to build the interior from sustainable and recycled materials.

Open and cosy

An effort was made to prevent overcrowding, allowing passengers to walk freely through the capsule.  (Image: Space Perspective)An effort was made to prevent overcrowding, allowing passengers to walk freely through the capsule. (Image: Space Perspective)

Space Perspective recently hired hospitality and entertainment entrepreneur David Grutman as its experience curator. Grutman will advise on the entire six-hour experience, from liftoff at Kennedy Space Centre in Florida through to splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean.

A view unlike any other

From heights reaching 32 km, the view of the Florida coast and Atlantic Ccean promise to be stunning.  (Image: Space Perspective)From heights reaching 32 km, the view of the Florida coast and Atlantic Ccean promise to be stunning. (Image: Space Perspective)

The Spaceship Neptune cabin will feature deep, reclining seats, a fully stocked bar, Wi-Fi, and large non-glare windows suited for taking photos. A visit to the bathroom won’t pose a problem, as it also features a large window. At an average cruising speed of 19 km per hour (19 km/hr), the experience should be serene and chill. Maximum occupancy is eight guests and one pilot.

‘Dramatic sights’

The entire journey will take around six hours.  (Image: Space Perspective)The entire journey will take around six hours. (Image: Space Perspective)

Other features of the capsule include seats that can be reconfigured for intimate one-on-one dates, a spacious and unobstructed interior section (care for a dance?), floor lamps, and customisable mood lighting that includes low red LED lights to ensure that passengers “will absorb the dramatic sights of witnessing dawn, planet Earth, and stars above in space — while easily navigating their way around the Space Lounge,” according to the press release. An overhead “doughnut” scrolling display will convey important information as the journey progresses, and if the view isn’t satisfactory enough, passengers can peer into space or at Earth using a telescope.

Sold out… for now

The orientation of the seats can be configured for intimate one-on-one experiences.  (Image: Space Perspective)The orientation of the seats can be configured for intimate one-on-one experiences. (Image: Space Perspective)

Space Perspective has sold 600 tickets thus far, and the first year of service is already completely booked (in case you’re wondering, the company has approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to conduct these flights). The company is taking reservations for 2025 and beyond, but a refundable $US1,000 ($1,388) deposit is required. The company says passengers can book the entire capsule for themselves, if they want.

Rival company World View plans a similar offering, though for a more reasonable, but still unreasonable, price of $US50,000 ($69,410) per seat. This is all very nice, but only time will tell if these companies will actually get off the ground and attract long term interest.