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This startup will send you to space in a balloon, for a price

  • A new startup called Space Perspective is planning to launch paying customers to space using a big balloon and a special observation capsule.
  • Tickets will cost around $125,000, the company says, but flights likely won’t begin for a few years.
  • Space tourism is a small but growing industry, with big dogs like Blue Origin and SpaceX pledging to send people to space for a price.

Ever wanted to travel to the edge of space but don’t trust explosive rocket technology? Well, you’re in luck! A new startup called Space Perspective wants to take (a lot) your money and send you toward the stars in a big ole’ balloon. Designed to be an alternative to the fledgling rocket-based space tourism industry, the company’s “Spaceship Neptune” capsules will be packed with paying customers and then carried aloft to a height of approximately 100,000 feet.

It’s just one of several entries into the burgeoning space tourism industry, but whether the startup can pull off what it’s promising is anyone’s guess.

According to the company, the trip to space (well, technically the edge of space), will be relatively brief. Two hours will be spent ascending to the intended altitude and then another two hours will be spent returning to Earth. A window of two hours in between ascent and descent will offer travelers some truly breathtaking views of their home planet.

When the trip is over the capsule will come to rest in the Atlantic Ocean, and passengers will be picked up by a ship of some kind and then brought back to shore. It all sounds a little bit odd but then again there’s really no rules when it comes to space tourism… at least not yet.

So, how much will the privilege of not even really making it to space set you back? A mere $125,000 per person. Okay, so it’s not cheap, but it will be a one-of-a-kind experience in an aircraft that doesn’t have to “blast off” from anywhere. The balloons will be deployed from Kennedy Space Center, according to the startup, but they’re still working out the details and finding their way through the FAA’s red tape.

Space Perspective is hardly the only company vying for a slice of the space tourism pie. Blue Origin and SpaceX, among others, have already announced plans to send paying customers into space for brief trips that will cost a whole heck of a lot of cash. In some cases, tickets have already been pre-sold for flights that might not take place for several more years, if they take place at all.

It probably goes without saying, but space tourism will cater to the super-rich, at least for now. Sending things to space is expensive, and raking in a sizable return on the initial investment of rockets (or space balloons) means charging very high prices. At least the rest of us will get to see some pretty cool Instagram selfies, right?

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