Japan-based aerospace company Iwaya Giken has announced a unique space tourism project that will take passengers up to the stratosphere in a helium balloon. The two-seater cabin will take off from a balloon port in Hokkaido and ascend to a height of 25 kilometers, which is part of the stratosphere and considered the gateway to space. The cabin is equipped with large windows that allow passengers to view space or the Earth below.
Applications for the space tourism project as opened in August, with the first five passengers expected to be announced in October. The company calls it “Open Universe Project” & plans to launch its first trip in late 2023. However, the initial cost of the flight would be about 24 million yen, equivalent to about INR 1.5 crore. The company hopes to bring the cost down to several million yen in the future.
The Iwaya Giken vessel differs from traditional rockets and hot air balloons as it uses helium to lift off. The company officials say that the balloon can be largely reused, and the flights will remain above Japanese territory or airspace. The balloon can carry a pilot and a passenger and stay in the stratosphere for one hour before a one-hour descent.
Viewing the Stratosphere
The passengers will not be in outer space, but they will have an unobstructed view of space above and a unique view of the Earth below. They will be higher than the altitude of a jet plane and experience a sense of weightlessness. The company aims to provide a memorable and unique experience to its passengers.
Iwaya Giken has collaborated with the major Japanese travel agency JTB Corporation for the space tourism project, which will provide commercial trips in the future. According to the company, the project will aim to make space tourism accessible to the public.
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Iwaya Giken‘s space tourism project is unique and innovative, allowing passengers to experience a view of the Earth and space from the stratosphere. With the collaboration with JTB Corporation and the plan to reduce the cost of the flights, the project aims to make space tourism accessible to the public. The company has opened applications for the space tourism project, and passengers selected can expect a memorable and unique experience.