Insight & Analysis

Hamster survives daring trip into the stratosphere on a flying balloon

Published: Jul 2022

A hamster has successfully returned to Earth after being launched into the stratosphere on a flying balloon. The ‘spaceham’ reached a maximum altitude of 14 miles (23km) and is said to be in good health after being safely recovered from the sea off Japan’s Miyako Island.

Hamster in a toy space rocket

The company behind the daring experiment, Iwatani Giken, confirmed the hamster was placed in an airtight cabin which measured 60cm high and 50cm in diameter, with the same atmospheric pressure and temperature as the ground.

The balloon was launched from Miyakojima, a city in Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture, and climbed at an average of 6.3 metres per second. A camera installed in the cabin showed the animal sleeping comfortably during the gradual ascent.

Iwatani Giken would like to bring manned space travel to the masses, and this experiment was designed to give would-be consumers confidence.

The company have planned further test flights to an altitude of 15 miles (25km) – and at this height, people would be able to see the curvature of the Earth.

Running around in a wheel may seem a little underwhelming for the hamster now it has a taste for the high life!

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