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Japanese startup unveils space viewing tour on balloon flight

43 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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By the way, the Concorde used to fly at 18 km, or 60,000 feet.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sounds like a lot of fun. How much? How often, once they get it up and running?

One can see the curve of the Earth from much lower than that, but if they will be able to see stars in the daytime, how cool is that?

As for staying only above land, I wouldn't be so sure. Sometimes the upper atmospheric winds can get over 200 km/hr. What are their plans if the balloon lands in the water?

Regarding the comment that a plane ride is cheaper, how does one catch a plane ride to that altitude?

Just spitballing here, but have they planned for the lack of oxygen, and the bitter cold? If something went wrong with the oxygen system, I hope they have an option to parachute out, with supplemental oxygen and someway to stay warm enough to avoid freezing.

Anyway, sign me up!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It’s high but not space. It’s not 360 degree view because of the metal casing above so you can only look forward. Can’t look back because of the chair.

A plane ride is a lot cheaper for basically the same thing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

'an otherwise astronomically expensive experience down to Earth'

I believe that we have to admit that space travel can be also very very uncomfortable. Traveling at a reasonable altitude is indeed a favorable alternative. Good idea, in my opinion

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Lol China’s start up company to try to deflect their embarrassment. How much were these guys paid to do this?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

We’re in the middle of a climate crisis and they think this is a good idea?!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Double pass on this accident waiting to happen.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The passengers will have to wear astro-diapers. I already wear them. Ready to go.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Missing - the Do Not Shoot Sign!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

This is exactly what we need right now. Superb!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Could be fun and wouldn't pollute like the rockets do.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

flights will safely stay above Japanese territory or airspace

Bad timing for this startup.

capable of rising up to an altitude of 25 kilometers

Outer space starts at 960km altitude, so calling this "space viewing" a bit misleading though.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@Jonathan Prin

1.5 in diameter that is really small for two (even for one). Not even possibly standing up

Indeed, it's for two Japanese people only. It may not fit single American man.

There is an outcry at Super Mario Kart ride that opened at Universal Studio Hollywood and at Universal Studio Orlando in 2 years, because the maximum waist size that the seat can accommodate is 40 inches, meaning more than half of US adults can't ride it. This wasn't a problem when the ride opened in Universal Studio Japan, but is a big problem in the US right now.

https://www.thedrive.com/news/the-average-american-man-is-too-fat-for-universals-new-mario-kart-ride

The Average American Man Is Too Fat for Universal’s New Mario Kart Ride

According to the CDC, the average American man’s waist is too wide for the Mario Kart ride’s restrictions .

The Mario Kart ride restricts anyone with a 40 inch waist or larger from riding. According to the CDC, the average American man's waist is 40.5 inches, which means most American men would be excluded from the ride. The average American woman's waist is 38.7 inches.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Nothing new, basically they are trying to commercialize the model used by RedBull Stratos to get Felix up for his jump. That's one expensive joy ride that would not see enough returns for a sustainable business model. This is a "J-HOKKAIDO Startup" and still a garage project, if this company is around in 10 years, I'd be surprised.

Going up in a hot air balloon seems fun but people die. Because we see so many of them, we don't pay so much attention to the accidents.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), only 16 people have died while hot air ballooning between 2002 and 2016—about 1 person per year. Going back to 1964, the NTSB has only recorded a total of 775 hot air balloon accidents in the United States.

Globally, there are approximately 3,000 hot air balloon accidents per year. In the United States, there are approximately 20 accidents per year. When these accidents occur, it is common for multiple parties to suffer injuries in the crash.

It will take one mishap to shutter this for good.

グッド ラック!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Looks like the cockpit of a B-29

0 ( +2 / -2 )

1.5 in diameter that is really small for two (even for one). Not even possibly standing up

Panic attack may come, even though you never had one before and think you are safe from it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Just make sure it doesn't drift out of Japan and doesn't end up in the US airspace.

At the proposed altitude, a visual inspection by F-22 isn't possible and the US is forced to shoot it down based on radar data alone.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

The windows remind me of the cockpit in the Millennium Falcon. They should do it up a bit more and let people dress up as Hans and Chewy. They would have no shortage of customers.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Spending insane amounts of money to put your life heavily at risk. Good luck with that. I'll watch on Earth.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Im quite happy right here on Terra-firma looking up at the night sky.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Pie in the sky

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Company CEO Keisuke Iwaya said passengers do not need to be billionaires, go through intense training or have the language skills needed to fly in a rocket.

"It's safe, economical and gentle for people," Iwaya told reporters. "The idea is to make space tourism for everyone." He said he wants to "democratize space."

Until drifting into the path of a missile downing a spy balloon, then the failure to have "intense training or have the language skills needed to fly in a rocket" will succumb to uncontrolled screaming, recognisable without any intensive language tutorial.

Excuse my sense of humour.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

 "The idea is to make space tourism for everyone." He said he wants to "democratize space."

and proceeds to offer this

....the Iwaya Giken vessel will be lifted by helium that can be largely reused...

...would take off from a balloon port in Hokkaido, rise for two hours to as high as 25 kilometers and stay there for one hour before a one-hour descent...

for "just"

a flight would cost about 24 million yen, but Iwaya said he aims to eventually bring it down to several million yen

Yep, releasing a hot balloon for 2 hours and reusing the helium for a few million yen per person surely sounds like democratizing space. Would pay ¥1 million for this once in a life time experience, anything beyond that I would feel stupid.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I think that’s a pretty cool idea and sounds a lot safer. A lot more moderately wealthy people in the world with a quarter of a million dollars to spare than billionaires. The views would be amazing and you would get a lot more time to take everything in. Correct me if I’m wrong but the Bezos and Branson launches last year, weren’t they only technically in space for like 20min or something like that? At least that Japanese billionaire got a week to enjoy time on the ISS. But honestly who has that kind of money?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The balloon, which can carry a pilot and a passenger

I understand the pilot is there for safety reasons, but wouldn't you rather share your experience with someone else if you're paying millions of yen?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

There are beautiful hot air balloon options here in Japan, for 3,000 yen. How much will this close-to-space balloon cost? Other fantastic option is the Cappadocia balloon ride in Turkey, around 300 euros... There in Brazil there are also some marvelous hot air balloon tours.

https://en.activityjapan.com/feature/hot-air-balloon-trips-in-japan/

3 ( +5 / -2 )

If I were to do this I'd only be interested in doing it on a moonless night in the Winter. At that point you probably would have the best view of space. I'm not that interested in looking down on the Earth from twice the distance I could while on a Jet. Interestingly enough, at 25km, or 82,000 feet, your body weight would drop by less than one half of a percent.

To further blow your mind, the International space station, which is 255 miles above Earth; if the Space Station were to stop circling the Earth and maintain a Stationary orbit, the weight of those on the Station itself would be 90% of what they weigh on Earth at Sea Level. Of course if that were to happen the Space Station would immediately fall to Earth. Yes, it is the centrifugal force... the Space Station circles the Earth once every 93 minutes.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Probably very thrilling - but it's Space Viewing only - as stated.

The flights go no where near outer space which is around 100km at the Karman line.

So it's not real competition for true Space Travel, but fun all the same.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Could not have picked a worse time to unveil their balloon. Didn't someone tell them is was a bad idea?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

It isn't really "space" but it might be the closest any of us will get to actually going there! It would be fun for sure!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Nothing could go wrong....right?

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Very hard pass!

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Awesome technology! If it is affordable enough, I'd love to go up into space in one. Imagine there will be a years-long application list though.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

No thanks. Pass...

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Will they fly over China?

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Don't think now is the time for people to be flying in balloons into space.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

There are no roads or paths or highways in the sky. But, space is space and, the more planes and balloons and rockets and gliders in the sky, the more likelihood of accidents happening. What is there to see in space? Air? Travel by planes is the most boring means of travel. Every passenger is happier when the plane lands. Because he feels safe when his feet touch the ground and he walks on solid earth. Air travel is the most boring means of travelling.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Japanese startup unveils space viewing tour on balloon flight

It can see Chinese baloon with closer look too.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

A Japanese startup announced plans Tuesday to launch commercial space viewing balloon flights that it hopes will bring an otherwise astronomically expensive experience down to Earth.

Hopefully it won't be mistaken for all the other balloon traffic out there and be removed with extreme prejudice.

The company teamed up with major Japanese travel agency JTB Corp, which announced plans to collaborate on the project when the company is ready for a commercial trip. Initially, a flight would cost about 24 million yen, but Iwaya said he aims to eventually bring it down to several million yen.

Makes sense that a company that received generous assistance from the public treasury during the pandemic is now focusing on a ultra-lux tourism market.

That's socialism for the rich y'all!

5 ( +16 / -11 )

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