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Partnership has Mercedes reimagining space travel as a luxury experience

There’s no Mercedes floating around in Space like there is a Tesla, but soon space travelers will be able to escape Earth’s atmosphere in Maybach style. Through a new partnership with Space Perspective, Mercedes-Maybach is pushing its brand boundaries further than ever before.

Space Perspective is the world’s first carbon-neutral spaceflight experience company. It has reimagined travel, aiming to deliver thousands of paying customers, called Space Perspective Explorers, to 100,000 feet above the ground inside a pressurized capsule, called Spaceship Neptune, attached to a giant balloon named the SpaceBalloon.

The capsule is where the Maybach experience is destined to play out. It is where eight Explorers and a captain will be able to enjoy space flight in complete luxury. Chairs are designed to be closer to recliners than airplane seats. There’s meal and cocktail service.

Spaceship Neptune is also home to a “loo with a view”, arguably the most extraordinary restroom ever conceived by residents of the third rock from the sun. A Wi-Fi connection is available during flight.

Transport to space in the pressurized Neptune capsule is aimed to be as gentle for passengers as takeoff and touchdown is for a hot air balloon, despite traveling much higher and in more adverse circumstances. Each journey is slated to take six hours from takeoff to touchdown and offer up 450-mile visibility in every direction thanks to large windows.

Jane Poynter, founder and co-CEO of Space Perspective and Biosphere 2 scientist, told Newsweek that the company’s origins directly stem from her time locked inside Biosphere 2, an experimental, self-sustaining research facility in Oracle, Arizona, for two years from 1991 to 1993.

“It was sealed tighter than the International Space Station of the time. The idea is that planet Earth is Biosphere 1. And so it was a miniaturized version of planet Earth very much simplified, of course, but it had its own little rainforest, a savanna and ocean, a marsh, and where we lived, and where we grew our own food.

“And what was incredible about that personal experience was living inside this system where all of the plants were giving us our oxygen to breathe. And as I breathed out, I knew that the CO2 was going to make the food that we were eating … And I could see the edges of my world, the glass and seal structure of the biosphere. And I really knew at a very deep visceral level that all we had inside our biosphere for those two years was all we had. And of course, by extension, that is the same as Planet Earth.

“And it turns out that this is exactly the same kind of visceral experience that astronauts have. When they see our world, our planet from space. They see that thin blue line, that curved brilliant blue line of our atmosphere, which as astronaut Nicole Stott would say is the only boundary that matters, as it separates us from that dark stark blackness of space. And it’s a profoundly moving experience for astronauts when they go to space.

“[In Spaceship Neptune] there’s no spacesuits, none of that and instead, we’re using a balloon that gently takes people to space to have that quintessential astronaut experience.”

Explorers will travel to and from the capsule in Mercedes-Maybach electric vehicles. “Our partnership with Space Perspective will allow space explorers to ride in style on the ground, and for us to extend the highest level of Maybach refinement and brand experience to the edge of space.” Daniel Lescow, Head of Mercedes-Maybach at Mercedes-Benz Group AG said in a press release.

“Pairing our all-electric Spaceship Neptune with the all-electric Mercedes-Maybach represents a sustainable and inspiration-filled future, not to mention a heightened overall experience for Space Perspective Explorers.”

Space Perspective aims to be a greener mode of transportation than the traditional space flight, which requires thousands of tonnes of fossil fuels to burn to propel themselves into the atmosphere.

To date, there are more than 1,650 ticketed Explorers booked for Space Perspective’s travel experience at the cost of $125,000 per person. Space tourism flights are slated to begin in late 2024.

Before liftoff, passengers meet the Space Perspective team at Kennedy Space Center where they’ll get a tour of the company’s facilities and safety briefing. Passengers can book a behind-the-scenes tour of the Space Center to enjoy while on-site before liftoff.

Launch happens from land or sea, and is followed by a 12-mph ascent before the craft reaches 100,000 feet in altitude, three times the height at which a commercial aircraft flies. After a few hours at that height, tourists descend back to Earth before splashing down in the ocean.

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