Advertisement

Florida-based space balloon company launches ticket sales

This is a view of the stratosphere taken by cameras on board the Space Perspective Neptune One prototype during a test flight Friday above Florida. Photo courtesy of Space Perspective
This is a view of the stratosphere taken by cameras on board the Space Perspective Neptune One prototype during a test flight Friday above Florida. Photo courtesy of Space Perspective

ORLANDO, Fla., June 23 (UPI) -- A new space tourism company began to sell tickets Wednesday for six-hour balloon rides to the stratosphere starting in 2024. The price of a seat: $125,000.

The company, Florida-based Space Perspective, plans up to 25 flights in the first year into what is the second major layer of the Earth's atmosphere and extends to about 31 miles, or more than 163,000 feet, above the planet's surface.

Advertisement

Space Perspective becomes only the second one to offer space tourism tickets, following plans by Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic to offer suborbital flights. Those plans have not yet been realized.

"The demand for space tourism is so huge that, honestly, we welcome more players in the industry and we believe in that adage that a rising tide lifts all boats," Space Perspective co-founder Jane Poynter said in an interview.

The company began to testing a capsule under a giant balloon Friday with a successful 20-mile-high flight from Florida that landed in the Gulf of Mexico. Operations are to be based at Kennedy Space Center initially, Poynter said.

Advertisement

Space Perspective also released a photo from Friday's test flight that shows the curvature of the Earth, a blue layer of atmosphere and the blackness of space. Such views will allow space tourists to see about 450 miles, the company said.

Up to eight passengers will ride in a pressurized capsule with an experienced pilot, a bar and a bathroom. The trip will end with a splashdown.

RELATED Virgin Galactic signs agreement with NASA

Branson's firm initially signed up passengers for $250,000 a seat, but halted sales after a test-flight crashed in 2014. As testing continues, seats are being sold for research and training flights, but not for space tourism.

SpaceX Crew-2 launches to International Space Station

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches NASA's second crew to the International Space Station at 5:49 a.m. Friday from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo

RELATED Blue Origin auctions seat on 1st crewed flight for $28 million

Latest Headlines