Space Travel Company to Convert OSV to ‘Marine Spaceport’

By Mike Schuler,
Published by gCaptain, 20 April 2023

One of the world’s first global space travel companies has revealed plans to convert a former Edison Chouest Offshore offshore supply vessel (OSV) to an at-sea spaceport for human space flight.

The vessel, named MS Voyager, is being developed by US-based Space Perspective, which bills itself as the world’s first and only carbon-neutral luxury spaceflight experience company. The company purchased the vessel, formerly the C Challenger, from ECO in November.

Voyager will be used to transport Space Perspective’s commercial spaceship, called Spaceship Neptune, to an offshore location, where a giant SpaceBalloon™ will fill with hydrogen and lift Spaceship Neptune and its passengers to 20 miles above Earth. At the end of the six-hour flight, the pressurized capsule will gently splash down in the ocean where Voyager will retrieve it. The company plans for the Voyager to be first in a fleet of ships that will be converted into a “Marine Spaceport (MS) and eventually enable flights around the Gulf and Caribbean.

The 292-foot-long vessel, which will be homeported in Port Canaveral, is currently being outfitted for launch, retrieval, and SpaceBalloon™ operations at Conrad Shipyard, with preparations provided by Gulf Ship. In keeping with Space Perspective’s ethos, the company will use offsets provided by Cool Effects, and the vessel itself is being retrofitted to use biofuel to reduce its carbon footprint.

International classification society the American Bureau of Shipping is now revealing it will class, engineering review and regulatory services for the vessel.

“ABS is already a pioneer in the field of offshore space support, with our industry-leading work on autonomous rocket recovery drone ships,” said Miguel Hernandez, ABS Senior Vice President, Global Offshore. “This is an exciting new arena, and ABS has a key role to play in supporting the safe development and implementation of offshore assets for new applications, including those by innovators such as Space Perspective who are looking to the ocean as the base for space voyages.”

Modifications to the near 300-foot-long OSV are already underway and will include the addition of the SpaceBalloon™ launch system and a space capsule A-frame, which will house Spaceship Neptune using a specially designed cradle on the aft deck.

“The future of space travel is on the water. MS Voyager unlocks flexible launch locations, ideal launch conditions, and more frequent launch opportunities. Our collaboration with the experts at ABS is helping us make space travel more accessible to the world than ever before,” said Founder and Co-CEO of Space Perspective Taber MacCallum. “ABS is a crucial partner in how we’ve reimagined commercial space travel and our ability to offer life-changing views of the most incredible natural phenomena from space in a way that’s safe, accessible and carbon neutral. ABS’s expertise to certify the world’s first marine spaceport in MS Voyager is making this all a reality.”

The name Voyager pays homage to the Voyager 1 Space Probe mission, responsible for taking the iconic Pale Blue Dot photo of Earth.

MS Voyager is planned to begin operations this year to align Space Perspective’s planned test flights.

The company claims that so far it has sold over 1,000 tickets, which are available at the current price of $125,000.

See: Original Article