November 5, 2009 weblog
Space hotel taking bookings for 2012 opening
(PhysOrg.com) -- The first orbiting space hotel is on track to open for its first customers in 2012, but hurry, as bookings are filling fast.
The cost of three nights on the Galactic Suite Space Resort (plus a two-month training course on a Caribbean island beforehand) will be $4.4 million US. At least 43 people have already reserved their place, with over 200 expressing an interest.
Guests would circumnavigate the globe every 80 minutes and see the sun rise 15 times a day. They would get around their "pod" rooms by wearing Velcro suits that stick them to the walls to enable them to crawl.
CEO of the Barcelona-based company Galactic Suite Ltd, Xavier Claramunt, said the hotel would make his company a leader in the fledgling industry, which he believes has a great future, with space tourism becoming commonplace. Claramunt, formerly an aerospace engineer, said that within perhaps only 15 years, it could be quite normal to spend a weekend in space.
The Galactic Suite Space Resort plans to start with one pod holding four passengers and two astronaut pilots. The pod would orbit 280 miles (450 km) above the earth and travel at 18,640 mph (30,000 kph). Passengers would take a day and a half to reach the pod by Russian-built rocket, after blasting off from a spaceport on a Caribbean island. The rocket would dock with the pod for their entire stay to give the guests a sense of security. At the end of their stay the passengers would return to the rocket for the trip back to earth.
Claramunt said the project had received an anonymous grant of $3 billion given to the company by a space enthusiast billionaire. Critics have questioned the timeframe, but the company is confident it is on track for the 2012 opening.
Another space tourism project under construction is Spaceport America, being built in Mexico. This will be the first facility for space flights for commercial and private passengers. Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson's space tour company will offer rides to suborbital space from the spaceport for $200,000. Bookings are pouring in, with 300 people already having signed up or paid in advance.
© 2009 PhysOrg.com