Balloon-powered Spaceship Neptune promises a luxurious way to tour outer space

Many private companies are working hard to make space travel more economical as well as more profitable. The latter could involve not just commutes but, more importantly, “space tourism.” To make that possible, however, rockets have to be reusable instead of being obliterated on reentry. Either that or spacecraft could take off on a runway the same way that airplanes do. Another option that’s starting to attract interest uses a style of flying that predates airplanes, relying on a gigantic balloon to lift people into the upper layers of our atmosphere. It may sound almost archaic, but the passenger capsule for one such spacecraft could very well be the most extravagant way to hold a cocktail party in outer space.

Designer: Of My Imagination

Of course, the balloon that will carry Space Perspective’s Neptune spacecraft won’t be the same hot air balloons you’ll see in the sky. A huge high-performance hydrogen balloon will have enough lifting power and enough durability to safely bring people to the outer edges of our planet for a relaxing outer space tour. And when it’s time to return to terra firma, the most advanced parachutes promise the same safety when landing down in the ocean.

While a balloon flight sounds almost boring compared to the adrenaline rush of a rocket launch, one look inside the newly-revealed capsule shows just how different it is from what the likes of Space X and Blue Origin have in mind so far when talking about space tourism. While these two want to offer an adventure similar to a roller coaster ride with some Zero-G moments, Space Perspective wants to create an atmosphere that is more chill, more educational, and perhaps even more memorable.

The Spaceship Neptune’s pressurized passenger capsule looks more like a compact cruise ship cabin than a rocket or plane. The spherical shape of the capsule offers more headroom for more comfortable viewing of the Earth and space through large windows. The seats definitely look more elegant than typical rocket seats, with holders for drinks even. And where do those drinks come from? Why from the bar in the back, of course! And before you ask, yes, there’s a restroom for those who can’t hold their liquids well.

The exterior of the capsule has also been redesigned to look more refined and also be safer. Below the sphere is a splash cone that will help ensure a softer water landing as much as possible. The complete form almost looks like a miniature balloon, so that the Spaceship Neptune and its hydrogen balloon look like two siblings in ascent, presuming you can actually see it from the side in outer space.

Space Perspective definitely offers a different perspective (pun intended) on how to enjoy space tours. A balloon’s slower ascent, longer time at its apex, and controlled descent offer a more relaxed and perhaps safer environment for appreciating our planet and learning more about it. True, it doesn’t have the thrilling zero gravity experience that many crave, but that’s easier to replicate on Earth than lounging in peace in outer space.