Japan Space Viewing Balloon

Keisuke Iwaya, left, CEO of a Japanese space development company Iwaya Giken, and Takayuki Hanasaka, JTB senior managing executive officer, pose Tuesday in Tokyo for after unveiling a two-seater cabin and a balloon the company says is capable of rising to an altitude of 15 miles, which is roughly the middle of the stratosphere.

TOKYO — A Japanese startup announced plans Tuesday to launch commercial space viewing balloon flights it hopes will bring an otherwise astronomically expensive experience down to Earth.

Company CEO Keisuke Iwaya said passengers do not need to be billionaires, go through intense training or have the language skills needed to fly in a rocket.

“It’s safe, economical and gentle for people,” Iwaya told reporters. “The idea is to make space tourism for everyone.” He said he wants to “democratize space.”