By Ashleigh / Jul 20, 2022
An Ambitious Project
The company had set its sights high, the kind of heights most would never dream of ever reaching. It was an ambitious undertaking, to say the least.
Petful – the_colmans
After a lot of planning, investment, and expertise, everything was set. Now they would have to wait and see. It was a tense moment as they arrived to check if the extraordinary hamster was even still alive.
Iwatani Giken is a Japanese company with ambitious dreams. In the world of space flight, they are quite the mavericks.
In fact, the company has filed over thirty patents relating to fluid dynamics and industrial gases, among other things. With stars in their eyes, what they are proposing might seem impossible.
In Japan, seemingly impossible tasks are seen more like problems that are not yet solved. The country is widely known for its astounding ingenuity at times.
As one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, Japan is always at the forefront of pioneering new technologies. With the Iwatani corporation’s latest endeavor, people may be forgiven for believing it couldn’t be done.
While space travel is nothing new, improving and making it more accessible is challenging. The exorbitant costs, inherent risks, and complexity of space missions make it a difficult industry to bring to the masses.
However, Iwatani Giken is one of the companies trying to change this. The question is, was it possible in the way they sought to do it?
When the general public thinks of space travel, sophisticated rockets and massively tense ignition procedures come to mind. However, Iwatani did things a little differently.
Remarkably, their test flights involved a vehicle that one might not usually associate with space missions. Rather than high powered rockets, Iwatani used specialized hot air balloons.
The company plans to use such trips as a means of opening up space travel to the general public but is still in testing phases. While the idea is a bold one, safety is of course a huge concern.
In order to safely test the concept, the company needed a test pilot of sorts. For this daring mission, a very special hamster was selected.
Hearing that a cute little hamster was strapped to a hot air balloon and launched into space will likely be very distressing to many people. However, Iwatani did not take things lightly.
Given the heights that their test balloon was expected to reach, a more pressing question emerged. Even if it was possible to launch a balloon into space, how would you protect the occupant?
To compensate for the inhospitable conditions at the heights the balloon was expected to reach, an ingenious solution was required.
The hamster was therefore placed in an airtight cabin. To make the trip more comfortable, the cabin was regulated with the same atmospheric pressure and temperature as the ground was.
The concept alone was an incredible one. Adding to the impressive feat was the statistics of the hamster’s trip. After being launched from the Miyakojima region of Japan, it began its climb.
From that point, balloon continued to climb at a rate of more than 6 feet per second. Before long, the balloon could be seen soaring high above the clouds, its remarkable passenger’s fate hanging in the balance.
After reaching heights that most planes dared ascend to, the balloon continued on. The balloon was not capable of reaching any real depths of outer space.
In No Particular Order
However, the initial launch was past 40000 feet soon enough and still climbing rapidly. So, how was the hamster fairing by this point?
To Boldly Go
Incredibly, the balloon continued further until it reached incredible heights. By the time it was past the 40000 feet mark, an astounding picture showed the hamster sitting calmly as the world below grew ever smaller.
By the end of its ascend, the hamster balloon reached an epic height of over 73000 feet. This meant the hamster had set a new record.
By reaching such an extraordinary height, the little rodent became the first hamster to be launched into the stratosphere. More incredibly, it got there in a hot air balloon.
Now that the first part of this daring mission was a success, a more difficult challenge lay ahead. The question now turned to whether it be brought back safely?
The cabin of the balloon was roughly only 20 by 23 inches in width and height respectively. Nevertheless, the Iwatani team was able to bring the balloon safely back to Earth.
The Independent – Oliver Browning
Landing in the sea off the island of Miyako, a tense moment likely ensued. It was time to see if the hamster had survived.
Not only was the hamster safe and sound, but it was also found to be in good health. The incredible trip was deemed a resounding success.
Now that this phase of testing was complete, the team could turn their attention to the next stages of their mission.
To The Future
Further trips of the sort are planned and will attempt to reach heights of up to 15 miles. At these points, passengers would be able to see the curvature of the Earth. If Iwatani is successful in their plans, soon these kinds of rides into the stratosphere could become a reality for humans too.
While the prospect is certainly exciting, there is still a lot of work to be done. When these ambitious trips are finally achieved, one hopes that mankind remembers to thank the special hamsternaut for helping to make them possible.