Home » Space Balloons Plan to Offer Michelin-Star Cuisine and Spa Bathrooms to Lure Elite Travelers

Space Balloons Plan to Offer Michelin-Star Cuisine and Spa Bathrooms to Lure Elite Travelers

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Three companies are hoping to become top dog in the stratospheric-space race by distinguishing their capsules with luxurious features. The firms, one French and two American, employ similar designs for their massive space balloons and pressurized capsules, which will all soar to about 20 miles above the Earth for about six hours. But they are trying to out-luxe each other in what they believe will be a space-tourism niche with more than 1,000 combined flights per year. The first commercial space-balloon flights are scheduled to happen next year.

Space-balloon trips will last much longer than current flights to the Karman line, considered the edge of space from 50 to 62 miles above the Earth’s surface, aboard Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin rockets. Those flights, which include a zero-gravity experience for about two minutes, last from nine to 11 minutes, with no perks other than a cool-looking space suit.

In lieu of the space suit, Zephalto said recently that it plans to offer onboard dining from a Michelin-starred chef. This haute cuisine experience would complement its $127,000 per-ticket trip aboard the capsule, Céleste, which will travel above the Earth on a six-hour trip. The trip will spend three hours at its highest point, according to the French company, offering exceptional views of the planet and the edge of space. Then it will descend back to Earth.

Céleste cabin on a space balloon.

Céleste’s cabin will have three luxury rooms, each with a window that is almost ten feet wide, for what it claims will be the best view in space.


The three-cabin space capsule was designed by Joseph Dirand Architecture as the “smallest experience-led hotel” in the world. “Design is about shaping experiences and this experience will shape people’s lives,” said Dirand. “I hope that our guests will return to Earth with new perspectives towards our precious planet and how to protect it better.”

Zephalto has yet to release the details of which chef will provide the Michelin cuisine. The company said that three test flights have already been carried out with pilots on board.

Space Perspective Neptune Space Capsule

The “Space Spa” bathroom, with its own windows to space, is being used as a differentiator aboard Space Perspective’s Neptune capsule.

Space Perspective

The 215-square-foot Céleste, which Zephalto says is the largest capsule among spaceships, has 10-foot-wide windows across three cabins, each designed to accommodate two passengers. “This is a condensed version of French refinement,” said Dirand.   

U.S. competitor Space Perspective, which also plans to launch Spaceship Neptune commercially in late 2024, is also going for a luxe interior, including an open-lounge design featuring recliners for a pilot and seven passengers, paying $125,000 each, as well as a bar, gourmet cuisine, and Wi-Fi. The capsule also boasts large windows to offer exceptional views.

Realizing that the participants on its six-hour flight are only human, the company last week announced a new “Space Spa” bathroom with enhanced “sound and odor” control and its own windows. “One of the questions we receive when people learn that our spaceflight lasts six hours is if there will be a loo,” Jane Poynter, Space Perspective’s founder and co-CEO, said in a statement. “The answer is, of course, yes.”

World View Space Balloon

Seats aboard World View’s Space Capsule will be about half the price of its competitors.

World View

Poynter said there is “no need” for a vacuum toilet like the ones used by astronauts, or a diaper. “Having a proper and beautifully designed restroom contributes significantly to the accessible and unique experience we are offering,” she said.

The company says it had sold more than 1,600 tickets, which equals about $200 million in sales. Compared to the 600-plus individuals who have traveled to space, Space Perspective’s sales give a sense of the volume the space-tourism balloon outfitters expect to achieve once the balloons are up and running.

“At scale, we expect to do 500 to 700 flights per year,” Ryan Hartman, founder of Arizona-based World View, told CBS News last week. The company currently makes space balloons for scientific research, but plans to launch its own space-tourism World View balloon and capsule next year, Hartman told Robb Report.

Zephalto Celeste Space Capsule

A rendering of Zephalto’s space capsule landing in the desert.


“What we’re selling is a view, so the window has to be perfect,” said Hartman, reflecting his competitors’ obsessions with offering the best look at the curvature of the Earth. “You have time to take in all that you’re seeing. You’ll see day turn into night; you’ll see weather forming.”

World View hasn’t really announced many details since last year. But it could have an edge, since it will be charging just $50,000 per ticket, less than half of the price of the others, for a seat in its eight-person capsule.

The company said last year initial ticket sales had surpassed 1,000, across seven exotic launch points that include the Grand Canyon, the Brazilian Amazon, the Serengeti in Kenya, the Great Wall in China, and Giza Pyramids in Egypt, among others.

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