For nearly $500,000, you too can have dinner in the ‘SpaceBalloon’ above Earth

A luxury space tourism company called SpaceVIP is currently taking reservations for its Stratospheric Dining Experience. For $495,000, six participants will enjoy a Michelin Star restaurant-catered jaunt into suborbit, sans rockets or zero gravity. Scheduled to launch as early as 2025 from Florida’s Space Coast, the travelers will “gently lift” into the sky aboard the pressurized cabin of Spaceship Neptune, a supposedly carbon neutral “SpaceBalloon” designed by another elite getaway startup called Space Perspective. Over the course of six hours, travelers will be wined and dined by Rasmus Munk, Head Chef at Alchemist, a 2 Michelin Star “Holistic Cuisine” restaurant. 

What is “Holistic Cuisine?” According to a joint announcement, it’s apparently a meal that doubles as “an intentional story… that will inspire thought and discussion on the role of humanity in protecting our planet” while “challenging the diner to reexamine our relationship with Earth and those who inhabit it.”  The diners can ponder this while watching the sunrise over Earth’s curvature from approximately 100,000-feet above sea level.

“Embarking on this unprecedented culinary odyssey to the cosmos marks a pivotal moment in human history,” Roman Chiporukha, founder of SpaceVIP, said in a statement. “This inaugural voyage is but the first chapter in SpaceVIP’s mission to harness the transformative power of space travel to elevate human consciousness and shape the course of our collective evolution.”

Concept art depicting the SpaceBalloon’s interior. Credit: SpaceVIP

Space Perspective representatives also said they believe such a trip will spur what’s known as the “Overview Effect” within their “Explorers,” referring to the feeling of awe many astronauts have described upon the Earth from the heavens. If it doesn’t, at least their tickets reportedly will be going to Space Prize Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing women within the space industry.

Those astronauts, however, felt their Overview Effect after years of physical, mental, and technological training. With a pressurized cabin, stable gravity, and a Space Spa (the name for the bathroom), Stratospheric Dining Experience attendees can simply bypass all of that by ponying up 12-times the annual salary of a first-year public school teacher in the US. For a more generalized overview effect, one ticket is about 2,640-percent higher than the global average yearly wage.

Test flights will commence later this year ahead of the 2025 launch window, when SpaceVIP’s Explorers “will be making history by enjoying the meal of a lifetime above 99-percent of Earth’s atmosphere.”

Despite being replete with mentions of “space” throughout the press materials, the meal won’t technically be in outer space. At its apex, SpaceVIP and Space Perspective’s “SpaceBalloon” will be about 43 miles below the Kármán line. For an actual, albeit brief, trip to space, Blue Origin spots are reportedly going for about $250,000 a seat.