Big-ass, high-altitude balloons are not just good for spying or for weather research purposes; it is also good for making affordable space travel. By affordable, we mean that you do not need a quarter of a million for a short trip to the stratosphere. But here’s the thing: not everyone is comfortable letting a balloon take charge of ascending and descending.

Iwaya Giken Stratospheric Balloon Flight

If you are one of them, then you may never want to consider this latest balloon-powered space trip offered by Japanese startup Iwaya Giken [JP]. Why? Well, just look at the passenger cabin it has recently unveiled. I don’t think anyone taking a ride in one will ever feel claustrophobic because you would probably be overwhelmed by anxiety by the fact that you are being separated from nothingness by a not-very-thick wall.

It is far cry from the luxury World View Enterprises and Space Perspective have to offer for sure. There is room for a cocktail bar and there is most definitely no bathroom. The space-faring ball has only space for a pair of bucket seats, each with a four-point harness.

I don’t believe you have the luxury of roaming around this high-tech, not-so-spherical capsule. It is a seated-only journey which is a shame considering how much the initial price of the round trip will cost, which is about 24 million yen or around US$180,000.

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Iwaya Giken Stratospheric Balloon Flight

And you’d be alone with a pilot. No friend to share your excitement with. You can only share your awe with the pilot.

The proposed trip would take the pilot and you to 15 miles (25 kilometers) above Earth which is technically not space yet but far enough to let you enjoy the celestial void. For those who don’t know, at 15 miles, it would be within the stratosphere which extends from 4-12 miles (6-20 km) to around 31 miles (50 km) from the Earth’s surface.

The company said it will take about two hours for the balloon to reach the target altitude where it will then cruise for about an hour before making the descent.

Iwaya Giken Stratospheric Balloon Flight

From now until the end of August 2023, the company is accepting applications for balloon rides to “space”

Images: Iwaya Giken [JP] via Facebook.

via Gizmodo.

Published by Mike

Avid tech enthusiast, gadget lover, marketing critic and most importantly, love to reason and talk.