Japanese Company Designs Balloon To Send Tourists To Space

A Japanese company announced its plans to launch balloons into space carrying tourists. They are planning to provide a commercial space viewing experience closer to Earth. 

The company’s CEO, Keisuke Iwaya, stated that they want people who aren’t billionaires, who don’t need to go through rigorous training, and who don’t have the ability to fly rockets also to be able to experience what space looks and feels like.  


“It’s safe, economical, and gentle for people,” Iwaya told reporters. “The idea is to make space tourism for everyone.” He stated that he hopes for space to “democratize space.”

Iwaya Giken, based in Sapporo in northern Japan, has been involved in the development since 2012.It says it has created an airtight cabin with two seats and balloons capable of ascending to a height of 25 km (15 miles) and where the curvature of the Earth is visible. Although the passengers won’t be flying through space, the balloon is only through the mid-level of the atmosphere. It’s more than the jet plane’s flight; enjoy a clear view of space.


The company joined forces with the major Japanese travel company JTB Corp., which announced plans to work together shortly when the company was preparing for commercial flights. At first, a trip would cost approximately 24 million dollars ($180,000). However, Iwaya has said he hopes to reduce it to around a million yen (tens of thousands of dollars).

Although Japanese space companies have been lagging further behind U.S. companies like SpaceX, Iwaya has stated that his goal was to increase the number of spacecraft accessible.

In April, SpaceX launched three businessmen and a space-based astronaut escort toward the International Space Station for $55 million each. SpaceX’s inaugural private charter trip to orbiting labs following two decades of bringing astronauts for NASA.

In contrast to a rocket, or hot balloon, in this case, Iwaya Giken’s vessel Iwaya Giken vessel will be lifted by helium which could be used in large amounts. The company’s officials have said the flights will remain over Japanese airspace or territory. The first flight is scheduled for the latter part of this year.

It could carry a pilot and a passenger, launch from a balloon launch site located in Hokkaido and then rise for 2 hours up to 25 km (15 miles) and remain for an hour before it descends for one hour. The plastic drum is 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) in diameter. It also has numerous windows that provide an expansive view of the sky above and the Earth below the ground, according to the company.

Space viewing applications for a ride began this week and will be open until the August. The first five participants chosen will be announced by October; officials from the company said the flights would run about a week apart, subject to the conditions.


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