Travellers with big aspirations and deep pockets could soon look to a new alternative travel destination when it comes to an out-of-this-world holiday adventure.
Russian firms Orbital Technologies and RKK Energia have unveiled plans for a hotel in orbit, trips to view the moon as well as other luxury rides into space at the recent MAKS air show held in Zhukovsky, just outside of Moscow.
The company revealed that the retirement of the NASA space shuttle has led to a new space race, with the emphasis now on building a new reusable craft that could exploit the growing demand for space tourism.
“Space tourism is a real and fast-growing business,” stated head of Orbital Technologies, Sergei Kostenko,
“Whoever builds the first new spaceship now will reap big dividends.”
The plan is for Orbital Technologies to have designed and built their space accommodation, with room for seven guests, and to have the hotel in orbit by 2016. RKK Energia are looking to develop a replacement shuttle which can not only be reused, but also serve as the link between the hotel and back home on Earth.
The Russian plans, which include tourist flights to view the moon as well as ambitious plans to reach Mars by 2030, seem optimistic, especially given the lack of funding available to most Russian firms.
The price for a five-day vacation however will not be cheap, with estimates for those first visitors being at a cost of $1 million per day aboard the orbiting hotel.
Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic is hoping to run the first tourist trips into outer space within the next 12 months after successful tests of the prototype SpaceShipOne and SpaceShipTwo in recent months.
Branson’s scheme, which takes passengers into space and allows them to experience weightlessness and see the curvature of the Earth before returning them to Earth, costs $200,000 per ticket.