Spaceship Neptune: A High-Performance Balloon
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Priestmangoode is working on ‘Neptune’, a high-performance balloon and pressurized capsule capable of flying passengers to the edge of space. The London-based design company, led by Nigel Goode and Paul Priestman, is working with US-based space perspective on the project, which will also transport research payloads. Flown by a pilot, the vehicle will take up to eight passengers on a six-hour journey to the edge of space — where only 20 people have been before — and safely back to earth.
All Images and video courtesy of priestmangoode
‘Spaceship Neptune’ will carry people and research payloads on a two-hour gentle ascent above 99% of the earth’s atmosphere to 100,000 feet (30,480 meters). Here, it will cruise above the earth for up to two hours allowing passengers to share their experience via social media. The spaceship then makes a two-hour descent and splashes down into the sea, where a ship retrieves the passengers, the capsule, and the balloon.
‘Neptune is a great project to work on, it’s the culmination of a long-term collaboration that has resulted in the only spaceship that is designed with the human experience at its core and will pave the way for the future of commercial space travel,’ says Nigel Goode, designer and co-founder of priestmangoode. ‘our starting point was the passenger experience. We looked at all the different elements that would make the experience not just memorable, but truly comfortable as well and included essentials for a journey of six hours, like a lavatory.’
‘Space perspective is developing a uniquely accessible space travel experience,’ comments taber maccallum, founder and co-CEO of space perspective. ‘the team at Priestmangoode worked with us to create that experience with spaceship Neptune, giving it an off-world yet classic design, while meeting a wide range of human factors, engineering, manufacturing and operating requirements.’
‘The design of the capsule is a critical component of providing our explorers the inspirational experience that astronauts describe of seeing our earth in space,’ adds Jane Poynter, founder and co-CEO of space perspective. The first unscrewed test flight will include a suite of research payloads and is scheduled for early 2021 from the shuttle landing facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.