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Space Perspective raises $40M Series A for stratospheric balloon rides – TechCrunch

The successful commercial launches of Blue Origin, SpaceX and Virgin Galactic have officially led a new era of space travel. But unlike these companies that plan to take people into space, rocket Also Spaceplane, 2-year-old startup Space Perspective is doing something else.

Instead of going to rocket space, which is exorbitantly expensive to develop and may not appeal to all customers, startups plan to use capsules attached to large balloons to provide vehicles to the stratosphere. doing. The plan caught the attention of investors: the company said Thursday it had raised $ 40 million in Series A to bring it to its first planned commercial flight in late 2024.

Space Perspective has already collected 475 bookings, each secured with a deposit of $ 10,000 to $ 25,000, depending on how fast the passengers are about to board the plane. The total cost of the seat is $ 125,000.

There is a trade-off in not going to the rocket route. Ballooning is fairly cheap and may appeal to risk-averse customers, but they don’t get too high in the atmosphere and don’t experience weightlessness. Instead of hitting or crossing the internationally recognized but ultimately invisible boundary of the Karman line, which depicts a “space” 50 miles above sea level, stratospheric balloons bring customers about 20 miles above Earth. I will go. (This is considerably higher than a commercial airplane vehicle that reaches only about 7 miles above sea level.)

But the Space Perspective promises to offer a spectacular view of the curvature of the Earth and the darkness of the universe, especially with its 6-hour ride. According to the plan, the space balloon will gradually rise at 12 mph for 2 hours, glide at Apogee for 2 hours, and gradually descend at the last time of the flight. The capsules splatter into the ocean, and eight customers and one pilot are scooped up on the ship, much like NASA and SpaceX retrieve the crew’s capsules.

There are other benefits to not being too expensive. From the description, riding a space-perspective balloon looks more like a first-class commercial flight of today’s major airlines than an astronaut launch. Customers will obviously even have access to WiFi and bars. No special training is required. A spokesperson for one company said that pre-flight safety briefings would be similar to those offered by flight attendants today.

The company has already reached a major milestone and successfully launched an unmanned, unmanned, full-size capsule simulator from Florida’s Space Coast Spaceport in June, targeting altitude. The next series of test flights will also take place on the unmanned spacecraft, followed by the first pilot test flight in 2023.

Space Perspective was founded by husband and wife, and co-CEOs Jane Poynter and Taber MacCallum. The pair was a crew member of Biosphere 2, an ambitious and eccentric project that recreates the state of the Earth in a sealed system. After that, he established Paragon Space Development Corporation, which develops life-support systems for astronauts, and World View Enterprises, which develops stratospheric balloons for remote sensing. Earlier this month, WorldView announced that it would offer a stratospheric balloon ride for $ 50,000 by 2024.

Series A was led by Prime Movers Lab with the addition of new investors Light Shed Ventures, Explorer 1 Fund and Yamauchi no.10 Family Office. Additional investors include Tony Robbins, VC firms E2MC and Space Fund, Kirenaga Partners, Base Ventures, and 1517 Fund.

Space Perspective raises $40M Series A for stratospheric balloon rides – TechCrunch Source link Space Perspective raises $40M Series A for stratospheric balloon rides – TechCrunch

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