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Space Tourism Now with Space Perspective Founder and Biosphere 2 Alum Jane Poynter

If you think space tourism is all about rocket ships and renegade billionaires, then you haven’t met Jane Poynter. The co-founder and -CEO of a company called Space Perspective—and an original Biosphere 2 team member back in the ’90s—Poynter gives us the low-down on balloons, bars, emission-free ships, and other surprising realities of space tourism today.

Space tourism is a hot topic in travel these days, but what exactly is space tourism? Jane Poynter, the co-founder and -CEO of Space Perspective, give us the low-down on the realities of space tourism today—and how the facts in this case might be even better than the fantasy.

Poynter’s career in space tourism stems from her time as one of the original team members of Biosphere 2, an experiment in which she and seven colleagues lived in a man-made, hermetically sealed environment for two years to test our capabilities of living on other planets. The Arizona facility—which was even more tightly sealed than the International Space Station—included its own rainforest, a desert, an ocean, animal species, and more, all living in a self-sustaining environment. This experience—as well as her training for the mission, which included sailing across the Indian Ocean—drastically changed her perspective about our planet and the possibilities beyond.

Following her two-year mission in Arizona, Poynter and her husband and fellow Biosphere 2 member Taber MacCallum started the Paragon Space Development Corporation, which specializes in developing technologies for keeping people healthy and thriving in extreme environments like space. In 2019, they founded Space Perspective—and introduced a completely new concept in space tourism. While companies like Virgin Galactic, SpaceX, and Blue Origin involve rocket ships and planes, Space Perspective takes clients to the stratosphere via a high-tech, low-impact balloon.

Space Perspective's Spaceship Neptune ushers in a new era of space calm.jpeg
Space Perspective Capsule Above Florida. .jpg

Space balloon technology has been used by NASA for scientific purposes for decades. Launching in 2024, Space Perspective’s Spaceship Neptune balloon will take eight passengers and a pilot, traveling at about 12 mph, to the stratosphere, 99% above the Earth’s atmosphere. During the two-hour ascension, passengers will witness views of the stars and watch the sun rise over the curvature of the Earth. With the sun will come bird’s-eye views of whatever region of the world the balloon departs from (initial departures will be from Florida, including from the Kennedy Space Center).

Throughout the experience, passengers can enjoy a bar, gourmet food, WiFi, educational programs, and more. At the conclusion, the vessel slowly descends back to Earth and lands in the ocean, where passengers will be taken back to shore. According to Poynter, the journey to the top of the atmosphere is only 20 miles—and the spaceship is virtually emission-free.

Poynter also talks about Virgin Galactic and other space tourism options for travelers, as well as where she sees the industry going—and how it will benefit people and the Earth. Be sure to stick around until the end to hear her take on the Overview Effect and making space travel more accessible, as well as Bruce’s update on space hotels.

Hosted by: Bruce Wallin

Produced and edited by: AJ Moseley

Music by: Joey Salvia

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