A hamster was shot into space and returned home safely with a flying balloon

A Japanese company, Iwatani Giken, successfully carried out an experiment involving a hamster, an airtight plastic cabin, and a flying balloon. A part of the experiment’s goal is to make space travel accessible to the masses.

According to Iwatani Giken, the hamster was placed in an airtight cabin that was 60cm high and 50cm in diameter. The hamster was then lifted off with a balloon at Miyakojima city in Okinawa on 9 June.

As the balloon carried the hamster off the ground, it climbed an average of 6.3 meters per second. The cabin was also monitored during the test flight to ensure that oxygen levels, atmospheric pressure, and temperature were the same as on the ground—so it’s not too uncomfortable for the little guy.

The balloon reached an altitude of 23KM during its hour-long journey at the rate of 6.3 metres per second. The hamster was then successfully recovered from the sea off Miyako Island. Iwatani Giken said that a camera installed in the cabin showed that the creature was “comfortably snoozing during its flight”.

“The hamster is in good health,” the company added.

So, what’s next for the company? According to Iwatani Giken, their next experiment will be a manned test flight to a maximum altitude of 25KM. They design, develop, and manufacture high-altitude gas balloons and airtight cabins with the aim of “near space travel” so we could be traveling to the stratosphere soon by balloons, as tourists. We just got beat by a tiny little hamster, though.


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