Sit on the Toilet while you Gaze at the Earth from the Edge of Space

You’re an excited, spacefaring passenger strolling about a pressurized cabin approximately 30 kilometers (20 miles) above the Earth. Your trip is scheduled for six hours, and you’ve already consumed the world-class food and drinks to complement this awesome view from Spaceship Neptune, which is provided by Space Perspective, the World’s First Carbon-Neutral Spaceflight Experience Company. But now you’re three hours into your trip and you have to go to the bathroom. Don’t worry, that’s where the Space Spa comes in, which was recently unveiled as one of the many features offered by Space Perspective as part of its spaceflight experience. An important aspect is paying customers, which Space Perspective refers to as Explorers, will be able to catch the great view even while taking a break in the Space Spa, with Space Perspective posting detailed images of the Space Spa to its official X page.

“One of the most consistent questions we receive when people learn that our spaceflight lasts six hours is if there will be a loo,” Jane Poynter, who is the Founder and Co-CEO of Space Perspective, said in an official statement. “The answer is always, of course, yes. And there is no need for a vacuum toilet like astronauts contend with, or a diaper.”

The International Space Station (ISS) currently utilizes three space toilets that use a fan-driven suction system like the Space Shuttle Waste Collection System. The reason such systems are used is due to the weightlessness the astronauts experience during spaceflight, which is caused by the astronauts and the ISS being in a constant state of free fall due to both the astronauts and the ISS literally falling towards the Earth at the same speed. However, Space Perspective has stated this free fall will not be experienced on their flights to space since their Spaceship Neptune will travel to space at a very slow 19 kph (12 mph), so it will not be falling fast enough for its passengers to experience weightlessness. Therefore, in terms of using the Space Spa, the company anticipates their Explorers will have a Space Spa experience even better than using an airplane bathroom on Earth.

“The Space Spa is the one place in the capsule’s interior where Explorers will be able to have a moment of solitude,” said Isabella Trani, who co-leads all aspects of design at Space Perspective. “So, it was imperative that it felt like a retreat. Explorers will find this environment cocooning and comforting, with no sharp edges, which adds to the ambience and creates a very welcoming place. On a practical level, the design benefits cleanliness, allowing for things such as surfaces that are easy to wipe down, and its soft surfaces and greenery promote sound and odor control.” 

The Space Spa is neatly tucked into the Space Lounge within Spaceship Neptune, the latter of which plans to provide their Explorers a 360-degree view of the Earth below by the largest windows ever sent to space. Along with the food and drinks, all trips will come with complimentary amenity kits, headphones, comfortable seating, and Wi-Fi. Space Perspective officially started selling tickets for Spaceship Neptune in June 2021 at $125,000 per seat along with a $1,000 deposit. As of July 2023, they have already sold more than 1,600 seats.

For the journey, eight Explorers and their Spaceship Neptune will be slowly lifted into space from either land or sea by the Statue of Liberty-sized SpaceBalloon at a gentle 19 kph (12 mph), which will take approximately two hours as they watch the Earth’s surface gets smaller and smaller. Once Spaceship Neptune reaches the designated altitude of 30 kilometers (20 miles) above the Earth, Explorers will spend the next two hours watching the Earth slowly turn beneath their feet while enjoying refreshments in the Space Lounge, and of course, the Space Spa. The last two hours of the journey will see the Earth’s surface get bigger and bigger as Spaceship Neptune slowly makes its way to a gentle splashdown.

How will Space Perspective, along with its Space Spa, change space tourism in the coming years and decades? Only time will tell, and this is why we science!

As always, keep doing science & keep looking up!