Space tourism: Huge balloon with a bar to take tourists to space for $125,000 a ticket
Space Perspective Co-Founder and Co-CEO Jane Poynter joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss space tourism and the company's massive balloon that will take travelers to space.
- Space, the final frontier. Well, we know about SpaceX and Blue Origin but there are some other names in the space race as well. And today, we're highlighting Space Perspective, which will offer a six-hour trip via what is essentially a massive balloon. Those trips going to be starting in late 2024.
For more on this, let's bring in Jane Poynter, Space Perspective Co-Founder and Co-CEO who joins us live now. Jane, it's great to have you on the program this morning. Tell us a little bit about your offering. How does it differ from the other big names that we have heard in the space tourism industry, which has really exploded lately?
JANE POYNTER: Yeah. So experientially, we've really reimagined space flight completely. Right. So I think when we normally think of space flight, we think about spacesuits and high G's, discomfort, lots of training, a lot of excitement, for sure. So we've completely reimagined it. And so it is, as you said, a huge balloon the size of a football stadium that allows us to carry this pressurized capsule to space very gently and smoothly. And so that gives us the opportunity to let people go to space and experience the quintessential astronaut experience that really otherwise, would not have imagined themselves being able to go to space.
Now, there's a bar on board, for example, which I think that every self-respecting spaceship should have a bar on board. But you're certainly not going to be able to find that on every one of the flights that are going to space because it's just not practical. But for us, it certainly is. And of course, there's a loo because if you've got a bar, you need a loo, and you are in there for six hours. I mean it's just, it's a completely different experience.
- Jane, I have to tell you, every time I hear about space tourism, I feel torn. On the one hand, it sounds like an amazing experience. And on the other hand, it just feels like such a 1%, 10% conversation because of the cost of that flight. I know we just put up a number there, $125,000. But what is going to take to make this more affordable, this experience, having that to a wider audience?
JANE POYNTER: Yeah. Absolutely. So at Space Perspective, we're focused on making it initially physically accessible and then financially accessible. So to increasing numbers of people. So $125,000 is already significantly less than anybody else in the field. And it is still going to space. But as we scale, remember we're at the very beginnings of this industry.
And so every industry that has changed the world like aviation, like computers, when they start out, it's very difficult to imagine vast numbers of people either using computers or airplanes. And now look, computers are in everything. Airplanes have changed the world and our lives. And the same is going to be true for space travel.
It's just going to take a little time for the prices to continue to come down as it scales. For us, for example, we're starting here in the US with our flights. But we will be scaling around the world and setting up operations elsewhere. And even that will help us start to bring down the price fairly significantly over the long-term.
- Jane, 100,000 feet is how high the balloon will go as planned. Give us a sense for what that looks like when you're sipping on your gin and tonic up there in the balloon. What can you see? Is that suborbital by definition? What are you going to be able to look out of the window to?
JANE POYNTER: Yeah. Exactly. We're part of the suborbital flight community, which is very exciting for us. You will have that incredible black sky like you're seeing here. When we take you up pre-dawn, you'll get the most outrageous starscape you've ever seen. Then the sun will come up and you'll start to see that iconic thin blue line of the atmosphere. It is going to be everything that astronauts talk about when they talk about seeing through space.
And I think the important thing for your listeners to remember is that for astronauts, this isn't just a pretty view they're seeing. It is profoundly moving. And it actually goes back to the experience that I had while I was inside a project called Biosphere 2, just a little over 20 years ago. I was in there for two years. And I was completely reliant on my biosphere. And it turns out that sort of experience and the perspective it gives you is very similar to that which astronauts have.
And it really changes the way you perceive the world forever. And that will actually have a trickle effect across society as increasing numbers of people go. I think it's an incredibly important component of space travel, and it is one that is greatly overlooked, I think, as people think about the value of this for society.
- I realize that we're talking about a lower price point than somebody like Blue Origin. But you're now accepting payment in cryptocurrency. I'd imagine you're appealing to some of those crypto millionaires. I mean, those who have made significant amounts of money who are saying, look, I want to put this to use with a cool experience.
JANE POYNTER: Yeah. Exactly. So, for us, being able to offer taking the deposits, right now it's $125,000 for a ticket. It's $1000 and up for a refundable deposit to get you a place in line or you can also put more deposit down to fly earlier. And so, yes. Absolutely. We have opened this up to the crypto community. We think it's really important that we make it accessible to people in a whole variety of ways. And crypto is part of that. Super important for us to open this up to as many communities around the planet as possible.
That's space. Right. I mean, one of the things that is so exciting is that when you think about space flight and my experience in Biosphere 2 and what astronauts talk about, they really talk about in very moving poignant terms the realization that we are one human family living together on spaceship Earth. Which I think is a message that we've got to all absorb today. And so being able to offer crypto is just another component of that for us.
- Well, Jane, you've got us all now dreaming of going up in one large balloon. It sounds like an incredible experience. Jane Poynter, Space Perspective Co-Founder and Co-CEO. Good to talk to you today.