Space tourism no longer in the far off future

by Tiffany Millar on September 30, 2010

The future has arrived as a Russian firm has announced an ambitious bid to target the space tourism market by establishing an orbiting hotel in the stars.

Orbital Technologies, based in Moscow, has high hopes for a Commercial Space Station which can also serve as a hub for tourism, catering to well-off travellers by offering overspill accommodation in the International Space Station, as well as workspace for science projects.

The company projects to launch a station with seven rooms by the year 2016, however, this may decrease or increase capacity numbers based on customer demand.

It is unclear whether RKK Energia, a state-controlled company which will be the general contractor for the venture, will have the capacity and funding required to follow through with the plan. Energia builds Progress cargo ships and Soyuz crew capsules to deliver space supplies and crew to the International Space Station.

The chief executive of Orbital Technologies, Sergey Kostenko, informed The Associated Press that this project would be an orbiting comfort hotel designed especially for tourists. The idea is that it would be even more comfortable than the Space Station as there would not be scientific equipment on the hotel premises.

To date, the handful of wealthy philanthropists and CEOs who have been space tourists had to tag along with astronauts and cosmonauts to the Space Station, floating around the space lab and dodging equipment so as not to break anything. With this new plan, space tourists will now have a place to observe in private.

Dining in the new station will tailor to individual preferences and the planners are considering employing celebrity chefs to prepare the food before packaging and sending into space.

Orbital Technologies has not disclosed the total cost of the project.

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