Russians unveil space hotel
"Getting away from it all" may be a travel marketing cliché, but the phrase might take on a whole new meaning come 2016.
Russian firm Orbital Technologies plans to open the first space hotel in history in five year's time.
The space hotel, or "Commercial Space Station," as it's officially called, will float 250 miles above Earth.
The hotel can accommodate a maximum of seven people at a time.
To check in, tourists will have to undergo special training that can take up to three months, depending on the type of spacecraft they fly to the hotel.
The firm says that stays can range from three days to six months.
Spending your vacation in space will no doubt inspire travel stories like no other, but what's there to do once you're sealed in up there?
Not much, it turns out, apart from going online and watching TV.
"Most likely, there will be access to the Internet and other communications on the ground," says Sergey Kostenko, CEO of Orbital Technologies, the company constructing the station.
"Menus will be chosen before the clients are launched," Kostenko adds. "Food is prepared on the ground and shipped to space, dehydrated." No impulsive late-night snacking then.
There will be no shower, but you can clean yourself with wet wipes. Fun!
You can't seek solace in alcohol either, because it’s banned on board.
However, Kostenko says he hopes that the station can be a stopover for manned circumlunar flights, so making day trips to the far side of the moon and back may be a day-trip option.
Space industry cash cow
Orbital Technologies plans to use Russian Soyuz and Progress spacecrafts to transport passengers and workers to the "great gig in the sky," although it does not rule out using other manned spacecraft made in the United States, Europe and China.
The firm is tight-lipped about how much it will cost to stay at the hotel, although the Russian government is hoping that the project can be a cash cow for its space exploration program.
"We consider the Commercial Space Station a very interesting project, encouraging private participation," says Vitaly Davydov, Deputy Head of the Federal Space Agency of the Russian Federation. "It will attract private investment for the Russian space industry."
Orbital Technologies will not confirm whether it has taken any reservations from customers yet, but says there are "many interested parties."