A new spaceship called Neptune, designed by PriestmanGoode and Space Perspective, will take Explorers on a trip to the edge of space
Working alongside U.S.-based Space Perspective, the leading design company PriestmanGoode has unveiled its work on a new Spaceship called Spaceship Neptune. With the aim of flying passengers and research payloads to the edge of space, Neptune is formed of a high-performance balloon and pressurised capsule, which has been designed from the inside out.
Able to take up to eight passengers – called ‘Explorers’ – on a six hour journey, Neptune is flown by a pilot and will take ‘Explorers’ to the edge of space, and then safely back to earth; a place that only 20 people have been to before. Carrying both ‘Explorers’ and research payloads, Neptune begins its journey with a gentle, two-hour ascent to 100,000 ft (above 99% of the Earth’s atmosphere). Reaching the edge of space, Neptune cruises above the Earth for up to another two hours, before making its two-hour descent back to Earth.
“We've worked in close partnership with the team behind Space Perspective for many years now. 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 the co-founder of PriestmanGoode, Nigel Goode.
“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,” Goode continues. “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. Meanwhile, we needed to minimise weight and create a highly functional environment for the pilot. All these elements guided the shape of the final capsule.”
As it reaches Earth under the balloon, Neptune splashes down and is retrieved – passengers, capsule and the balloon – by ship. The first un-crewed test flight of the new Spaceship is scheduled for early 2021. It will carry a suite of research payloads inside it, and will launch from the iconic Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, USA.
Discussing working with PriestmanGoode, the founder and co-CEO of Space Perspective Jane Poynter says, “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. We are thrilled to be working with Nigel and his talented team.”
“Space Perspective is developing a uniquely accessible space travel experience,” Taber MacCallum, the founder and co-CEO of Space Perspective, elaborates. “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.”