Test flights on tap for Space Perspective’s luxury high-altitude balloon

Ars Technica » Scientific Method 2024-02-21

Space Perspective's first test capsule, <em>Excelsior</em>, has a diameter of approximately 16 feet (4.9 meters).

Enlarge / Space Perspective's first test capsule, Excelsior, has a diameter of approximately 16 feet (4.9 meters). (credit: Space Perspective)

Space Perspective could begin test flights of its privately owned capsule suspended under a high-altitude balloon within the next couple of months, the company's co-founder told Ars this week.

Florida-based Space Perspective released photos of its first completed test capsule Tuesday. The company will use this pressurized capsule, called Excelsior, for a series of test flights this year over the Atlantic Ocean just off the coast of Cape Canaveral. Taber MacCallum, Space Perspective's co-founder and chief technology officer, said employees have also finished fabricating the giant balloon that will lift the test capsule into the upper atmosphere for the first test flight.

The final piece of the puzzle is a ship, named Marine Spaceport Voyager, that Space Perspective will use to launch the balloon and capsule. This vessel is due to depart an outfitting facility in Louisiana in the next few weeks for a trip to Port Canaveral, Florida, where Space Perspective will load aboard the capsule and balloon. Then, perhaps in four to six weeks, ground teams will be ready for the system's first test flight, according to MacCallum.

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