A restroom with an out-of-this-world view could be the surprise highlight for travelers adventuring with space tourism start-up Space Perspective.
The Florida-based company plans to take travelers some 100,000 feet to the edge of space via a pressurized capsule suspended from a high-tech balloon.
As trips are set to last around six hours, naturally the capsule needed an onboard bathroom. When envisaging what that might look like, Space Perspective founder and co-CEO and her team settled on what the British-born Poynter dubs a “loo with a view.”
“Why not have a loo with a view?” Poynter tells CNN Travel.
Concepts from designers Dan Window and Isabella Trani depict a gleaming restroom with a large window looking out over the stars and the curvature of the earth.
Poynter says the bathroom is designed to be a place travelers can take stock of their space excursion.
“It’s going to be almost overwhelming at certain points,” Poynter says of the experience. “So we wanted to create a space where people could go to take time for themselves for a moment.”
While the view is the main attraction, there’s also a window blind – less for privacy’s sake (there’s not exactly anyone else around) and more in case travelers want to take a moment to process.
“That’s why the toilet seat itself has a cushion, so you can sit there,” adds Poynter.
The bathroom design puts “wellness” at the center, according to Poynter – hence its official name “Space Spa.”
When asked by CNN Travel whether that name suggests there could one day be a hot tub alongside the toilet and sink, Poynter laughs, then concedes “the capsule interior can be modified” suggesting potentially anything from a dining room table to a research could be included in the capsule.
State of space tourism
Since Dennis Tito, the first ever “space tourist” hit the skies in 2001, few travelers have followed in his footsteps. But in recent years, high-profile space tourism companies such as SpaceX, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic have been making moves in this arena, vowing to make space the next must-visit vacation spot.
Also planning excursions via a stratospheric balloon is French company Zephalto, which aims to serve up Michelin-star-level meals on the “edge of space.”
It’s worth remembering there’s a big difference between a trip to orbital space – involving gravity-busting high-speed takeoffs and longer duration – and suborbital space, in which travelers are briefly exposed to weightlessness and views of space during a flight to the edge of the atmosphere, 60 miles above Earth.
And trips to the “edge of space” – like those proposed by Space Perspective and Zephalto – are different again.
These capsules won’t actually hit suborbital space, but will still fly significantly higher than your average commercial airplane. That means great views of the Earth and the stars, but without the loss of gravity and accompanying feeling of weightlessness – hence why a swanky bathroom is possible.
Potential 2024 launch date
Space Perspective hopes to start transporting groups of up to eight passengers on flights by the end of 2024.
But there are still several stages before the balloon and capsule can get off the ground so Poynter says while the company is aiming for that date, she “would suggest you don’t put that on the calendar.”
The company is regulated by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the US Coast Guard and Poynter says ensuring safety is very important to the team. Space Perspective intends to start tests fights imminently.
While the exact lift off date is still TBC, Space Perspective’s $125,000 tickets are already being snapped up.
“People want to be first in line,” says Poynter.
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