Adventurous tourists could soon travel to the edge of space in a British-designed balloon for £95,000 as part of an ambitious new project.
Florida-based Space Perspective wants to use an advanced balloon to take people and research payloads into the stratosphere, providing 360 degree views of space.
The capsule was designed by London business PriestmanGoode. "We looked at all the different elements that would make the experience not just memorable, but truly comfortable as well," said Nigel Goode, the cofounder of PriestmanGoode.
"We wanted to make sure that passengers would be able to get 360-degree unobstructed views and that we created an efficient space that would enable them to move around during the journey."
The balloon will have room for eight passengers as well as a pilot, and features seats as well as a bar and a bathroom.
Space Perspective reportedly plans to charge customers around $125,000 (£95,000) for the six-hour trip to the edge of space in the capsule. Passengers will float 100,000 feet above the earth before beginning the two-hour return journey back to Earth.
The first un-crewed 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 Center in Florida.
The company is part of a number of businesses hoping to attract tourists willing to pay significant sums for trips to space.
Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic has sold 600 tickets for trips to space, with most of the planned trips costing between $200,000 and $250,000 per customer. The business reported a $54m loss earlier this week.
SpaceX, the space travel company run by Elon Musk, also announced plans to launch tourists into space on a Crew Dragon spacecraft earlier this year.