back to article Japanese balloon startup wants to 'democratize space' – with $180,000 ticket price

Japanese startup Iwaya Giken has pulled the sheets off a two-seater airtight sphere that it plans to hook to a helium balloon and send space tourists into the stratosphere. "It's safe, economical and gentle for people," CEO Keisuke Iwaya told journalists during the announcement this week. "The idea is to make space tourism for …

  1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge


    "25 kilometers ([178578 linguine or] 82,000ft or 15 miles) where passengers will be able to view the curvature of the Earth."

    20 years ago, you could, for £3000 take a trip in a daily service between London and New York, reaching a service ceiling of

    18 kilometers (128571 linguine or 60,000ft or 12 miles) where passengers were able to view the curvature of the Earth.

    1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

      Re: Progress

      £3000 in 2000 is now around £5218.94, according to the Bank of England inflation calculator (

      So quite the bargain back then, really.

      1. Paul Herber Silver badge

        Re: Progress

        Even more of a bargain if you can go shopping for a new kitchen door knob at the same time!

      2. Mayday Silver badge

        Re: Progress

        >> £5218.94

        I'd pay $10k Aussie in a heartbeat for a Concorde or equivalent flight today.

    2. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Progress

      You can view the curvature of the earth for much less than that...

    3. NerryTutkins

      Re: Progress

      According to the flat earth community ("do your own research"), the moon landings were faked because it's not possible for humans to get to space, let alone the moon. They frequently cite the lack of present tech to take people to the moon as evidence ("we're supposed to believe they could travel to the moon in the 60s, but 50+ years later, we no longer can").

      I like to point out to them that Concorde therefore must be fake. Because supposedly in the 1980s, you could fly across the Atlantic at Mach 2, but now in the 2020s, you cannot even do it at Mach 1.

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: Progress

        Regarding 'Flat Earthers' see the excellent book 'How to talk to a science denier' by Lee McIntyre, (ISBN 978-0-262-04610-7). The first chapter is his experience at a 'Flat Earth' convention.

        Actually we can still travel across the Atlantic Ocean supersonically, you just need military clearance and in-flight-refuelling expertise.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Progress

      I went London to New York. It was an evening flight, on G-BOAE. Felt the effect of the afterburners being relit somewhere after the Bristol Channel, with the Captain describing what was about to be done. Forget which way they were switched on - inner engines first, then outer?

      After that, climb to cruising altitude, watching the Mach display to 2.0 and height to 60,000ft, then look out of the window to the blue and the black.

      Occasionally, a subsonic craft way below, sort of going backwards.

      And then, it's time to decelerate and start the descent. I wish it was longer, "up there".

      If I had the money, I wouldn't go on one of these new rocket trips to get up there for all of a few mins.

      Get on a vomit comet for the weightlessness, and yes, take the balloon. Far more time to savour the experience. And please, please keep the mobile behind and do look with your own eyes, and not through a screen / viewfinder.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Is it me, or is that just a giant gacha capsule?!

  3. Lil Endian Silver badge

    Investment Opportunity

    I hope this becomes popular - I'm off to invest in Stadium Pal & Gal!

    Profit while the passengers -->

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. imanidiot Silver badge

    So? Not space!

    I really don't see the appeal of this. 25km is so far from any definition of space it's laughable. and a 1.5m diameter capsule?? I would hope they mean radius because that would be really cozy for 2 people. Better hope you like the other person locked up in there with you because you're going to get very familiar with them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So? Not space!

      Whereas, to me, this seems like a much better trip than a sub-orbital hop, regardless of price.

      What Dear? Mobility scooter is charged. Righto, I'll just go get a packet of gingernuts for the tea then.

    2. that one in the corner Silver badge

      Re: So? Not space!

      Looking at the linked article, 1.5m diameter is correct.

      Random reality check: my office chair is only 60cm across, outside of one armrest to outside of the other; if you can manage to sit next to same person for an entire cinema showing of a Lord of the Rings film, including Pearl&Dean and trailers, you will be fine together in this capsule.

  6. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    No navigation?

    It seems really optimistic about safely landing in a safe place.

  7. david 12 Silver badge

    Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale

    A tale of a fateful trip

    That started from this tropic port

    Aboard this tiny ship

    The mate was a mighty sailing man

    The skipper brave and sure

    Five passengers set sail that day

    For a three hour tour, a three hour tour

    f not for the courage of the fearless crew

    The minnow would be lost, the minnow would be lost

  8. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge


    Not as long as the US military has a base on Okinawa. Balloon goes up, Biden shits his Depends, fighter jet goes up, BOOM, balloon comes down, at times achieving speeds over Mach 1. Bouncy bouncy. Well, splatty splatty, anyway.

    1. Mayday Silver badge

      Re: Nope

      Presumably the thing has ADSB on it (some consumer level drones do so this thing should too) and whoever launches the thing submits an ICAO flight plan.

  9. Roger Kynaston Silver badge

    question is

    Can you jump out of it? The only thing that would tempt me back to skydiving would be a chance to do a high altitude jump. I know that 25 km is a huge difference on 10 000 m or so but pressure suits can be had. Felix managed it after all.

    1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      Re: question is

      The only question is, can it be used to launch LOHAN?

  10. Winkypop Silver badge

    Now departing

    The claustrophobia, agoraphobia, acrophobia, urophobia express!

    Going up!

  11. Julz


    Not drift over the USA...

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