Space Perspective has announced plans to launch a marine spaceport for its balloon capsules designed to fly space tourists. MS Voyager will be the first in a fleet of ocean launch platforms for Spaceship Neptune spacecraft designed for stratospheric journeys, announced the company.
Space Perspective purchased the MS Voyager from the Edison Chouest Offshore shipbuilding company, and the vessel is now being converted into a launch platform at a shipyard in Louisiana. The marine spaceport should be ready by the end of the year. The 89-meter-long vessel will be based at Port Canaveral in Florida, and the company plans to deploy the rest of the spaceport’s fleet around the world.
Originally, Space Perspective had planned to launch the Neptune spacecraft from Florida’s Space Coast, but a balloon launch pad at sea creates a more flexible launch environment, the company said. Naval spaceports can move to areas with good weather for launch, and sailing with the sea breeze will keep the deck wind free.
The company has almost finished building the Neptune spacecraft, which is essentially a capsule that rises into the stratosphere with the aid of a giant SpaceBalloon. The ball is propelled by hydrogen, and rises upwards at a slow speed of 19 kilometers per hour. Space Perspective has already attracted enough tourists to its space voyages, selling more than a thousand tickets at a price of $125,000 each, reports SpaceNews. The entire flight lasts about six hours, after which the capsule falls into the ocean at the end of its journey.
The company is preparing for test flights of the Neptune in 2023, and by 2024 it plans to start its commercial flights.
“Space Perspective will change your relationship with our planet by providing the quintessential astronaut experience of viewing Earth from the blackness of space,” said Jane Poynter, founder and co-founder of Space Perspective, in a statement.