Space fans could be treated to views of Earth from the comfort of a giant balloon by 2024.
A new entrant to the booming space tourism market says its floating cabins will carry up to eight passengers into the upper atmosphere.
They will admire the curvature of the Earth from the comfort of a luxury pavilion raised at the edge of space by an enormous balloon.
Space Perspective last week unveiled artwork of its swish cabins, which it hopes to begin launching from Kennedy Space Center in Florida from late 2024.
Over 600 tickets have so far been sold at $125,000 each.
With 1.5 meter (5 foot) tall windows, deep seating, dark purple tones and dim lighting, the atmosphere contrasts with the white, sanitized capsules of its competitors.
Wifi connectivity and a drinks bar complete the “Space Lounge” inside the company’s Neptune capsule.
Whether this really constitutes spaceflight is a matter of debate.
The balloon reaches an altitude of 20 miles (30 kilometers), far lower than rivals Virgin Galactic, which soars just over 50 miles high, or Blue Origin, which crosses the Karman Line, 62 miles above sea level, the internationally recognized spatial boundary. .
SpaceX Crew Dragons flies even further into space.
But 20 miles is still a lot higher than commercial planes, which go up about six miles high.
“We’re above 99% of Earth’s atmosphere,” said co-founder Jayne Poynter, which means passengers will truly see the inky blackness of space.
No special training is required. The balloon rises at a serene 12 miles per hour and the company promotes itself as a greener, zero-emissions alternative to rocket fuels.
They intend to obtain the balloon’s hydrogen from renewable sources, rather than extracting it from fossil fuels.
The price of the two-hour, two-hour glide and two-hour descent trip, which ends with a dip in the ocean, is significantly lower than Virgin Galactic tickets that cost $450,000 for a spaceplane ride .
Blue Origin does not disclose its prices, but they are believed to be much higher.
Four contractors who traveled to the International Space Station on a SpaceX craft each paid $55 million to Axiom Space for the privilege.
“We wanted to find a way that really changed the way people think about spaceflight that makes it much more approachable and approachable,” Poynter said.
One thing that passengers won’t experience are sensations of weightlessness.
With Virgin’s space plane and Blue Origin’s rocket, passengers can detach and float when the rocket’s engines are shut down, but the ship continues to coast for a few minutes before gravity pulls it back down .
Passengers on SpaceX spacecraft and those on the ISS also experience apparent weightlessness as the ships orbit Earth.
Space Perspective plans 25 flights in its first year, with all seats now reserved.
This article originally appeared on The sun and has been reproduced here with permission.