Thrill-seeking travellers keen for an out-of-this-world adventure will now be able to journey into the stratosphere from the deck of a 90-metre ship.
Florida company Space Perspective has unveiled MS Voyager, the world’s first floating spaceport, as part of a fleet it plans to launch globally.
The bio-fuel-powered balloon-like vessel will have its home port in Florida, but will be able to navigate to other destinations prone to good weather conditions, allowing the company to operate year-round launches for travellers hoping to embark on a voyage into the stratosphere.
Other marine spaceports will dock at different destinations around the globe and complement Space Perspective's on-land launches in Florida. .
An at-sea launch pad creates more flexible conditions for lift-off, according to the company, which plans to send the balloons into space at different times of the day, including at sunrise and sunset for stargazing experiences.
Space Perspective opened ticket sales for flights last year.
A ticket for the six-hour journey in the Spaceship Neptune capsule, which will offer explorers individual reclining seats and 360-degree panoramic views of the planet, starts at $125,000.
More than 1,000 tickets have already been sold for the journey, which will take passengers about 100,000 feet above Earth when it takes flight in 2024.
“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, Space Perspective’s founder and co-chief executive.
“It’s imperative for us to think about our business with a global mindset. Removing geographic borders for launch and landing accelerates our mission of making this transformative experience more accessible to the world and international marketplace — safely, reliably and with minimal impact on our planet.”
MS Voyager is currently being fitted out for the journey at a Louisiana shipyard. It should be complete by the end of this year, and test journeys will begin in the new year.
It's named Voyager as a tribute to the Voyager 1 space probe mission, which, on astronomer Carl Sagan’s request, took a photo of Earth from across the solar system on February 14, 1990.
The image, known as the Pale Blue Dot, inspired Sagan to call for humans to “preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known” — words that Space Perspective says fuels its mission today.
When travellers return to Earth, they will splash safely into the ocean where boats will stabilise the capsules before lifting them on to MS Voyager, or one of its sister marine spaceports, via a custom-built structure.
A $1,000 deposit will secure a ticket on flights set to take off in 2024. Travellers can also reserve an entire capsule to bring along a group of up to eight friends.