These space balloons are designed to take passengers into orbit and, pardon the pun, they’re more than just a load of hot air.
Made by a Japanese start-up called Iwaya, the goal is to take people to the stratosphere.
These space balloons don’t even need a launch pad or even a rocket to do it.
They’re capable of achieving stratospheric heights using helium balloons that are attached to an airtight pod that seats a pilot and a passenger.
In Tokyo, at the Japan Mobility Show, Iwaya exhibited its T-10 Earther airtight cabin.
Looking similar to the Saiyan space pods from Dragonball Z, the two-seater sphere maintains the same air pressure and temperature as it had on Earth throughout the journey.
And because it rises gently with helium, there are no punishing G forces acting on the body.
According to Iwaya, this is all part of its ‘Open Space Project’, which sees it work in partnership with businesses in various industries to democratize space, until everyone can have a chance to visit.
The final goal, it says, is a world where you can casually say to your friends and family, “hey, do you fancy going to space this weekend?”
But it’s not just a casual day trip that Iwaya wants to give to customers.
The founder of the company, Keisuke Iwaya, hopes that people won’t just enjoy their trips getting closer to the stars, but that by broadening their horizons, they will feel a little bit closer to Earth, as well.
It certainly sounds exciting, and hopefully the project will go places.
Again, no pun intended.
The truth is, despite being well into the twentieth century now, we are barely closer to commercial space travel than we were when Armstrong left his footprints on the moon.
After repeated promises, Virgin Galactic keeps being delayed and pushed back.
And then there’s Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, which is still an expensive luxury only for the ultra wealthy.
Hopefully projects like the Iwaya’s space balloons can change that.