Kiwis with a spare NZ$182,000 who fancy flying to the edge of space onboard a carbon-neutral balloon could be travelling in a luxurious capsule serving alcohol, it has been revealed.
Space Perspective, which is due to start flights using the Spaceship Neptune balloon in 2024, has revealed the interior of the capsule's lounge for the first time.
The company said it had worked through "hundreds of iterations" of the pressurised capsule to create a welcoming interior, complete with plants and herbs that can be used in onboard food and drink preparation.
"This creates a calming environment in which to relax, and is the opposite of the bright white utilitarian interiors you find on other spacecraft - and most people's idea of how a spaceship interior looks," the company said.
Those lucky enough to secure a ticket will have 360-degrees via panoramic windows, the largest ever in space. That includes the bathroom, which has a large window to ensure an interrupted view. Presumably there will be no near-flying space stations that can peak in.
"The arced seating gives a wider view across Earth, which in turn creates space for passengers to stretch their legs and stand comfortably in front of the seats," the company said.
There is room onboard for nine reclining seats, suitable for eight 'Space Explorers' and a pilot. They can be reconfigured to accommodate a special event, like a dinner for two or a wedding.
Customers can also customise the experience, with the menu, cocktails, soundtrack and lighting all able to be adjusted to suit the individual.
For those who can't be without their mobile phone for the trip, there is also good news. The company says Wi-Fi will be available onboard, so customers can livestream their trip if they wish to.
The entire six-hour experience will also be captured with both interior and exterior video and still photos.
As well as being zero-emission and carbon neutral, the Spaceship Neptune also uses sustainable materials, including a bar that is partly made with recycled balloons.
Each balloon is made from polyethylene, and are recycled after each flight and upcycled wherever possible.
"Every other component of Spaceship Neptune is designed to be reflown," the company said.
Space Perspective says its 2024 flights are already booked out, but those wanting to book for the future can put down a NZ$1456 deposit to secure a seat.