Visualized for the Paragon Space Development Corporation, this concept capsule will take passengers to the edge of space where they will be able to observe the curvature of the earth. Inspired by luxury aircraft interiors, the design focuses on enhancing comfort onboard to create a transformative human experience!
World View plans the flights of the capsule, which can carry eight people, to over 30 kilometres (98,425 feet) by means of a helium balloon. The ascent will take between one and a half to two hours. The capsule will then spend between two and six hours at the intended altitude of 30 kilometres, before returning to Earth over the course of 20-40 minutes.
The extended length of time spent in space was a significant driver for the design of the vessel. As director Nigel Goode explains: ‘The idea of space travel naturally brings to mind traditional rocket ships and the aerodynamic forms they command. However, the World View experience is not about speed, it’s about enjoying a once in a lifetime journey. The unique advantage is that the body of work over the last 25 years, from product design to aircraft interiors and hotels, means we always design with the user at the heart. We didn’t just want to design a vessel, we wanted to define what commercial space travel could be. We wanted to create a stylish, elegant, luxurious environment for this unique experience. It was all about finding the right balance between form and function.”
The capsule’s sturdy form was designed to enhance passenger safety. The key design features are the large panoramic windows constructed from an array of small high pressure units. Goode continues ‘It was crucial to find a way to maximise the viewing windows. In our initial design meetings with the World View team, they talked about wanting to start the journey before dawn, so that as passengers rose up to space, they would be able to observe the sunrise, the curvature of the Earth, the thin blue atmosphere and the blackness of space. The windows we designed offer the maximum amount of viewing space for passengers, whilst meeting stringent safety requirements. There is also a cupola viewing dome for unrestricted view of the Earth’s curvature.”
Other features include a lightweight structure, permanently deployed parafoil to maximise safety, science capsule attached to the top of the exterior for potential scientific data readings, deployable landing gear (skids), a reserve parachute for safety and a unique trailer unit for ground transportation and launching platform.