Space tourism becomes reality! The demand to visit new places has risen so high, that the hospitality industry may soon be expanding to the untapped frontier: space. Russia’s space agency is adding a dose of luxury to its bid to return to the space tourism business. It wants to build five-star accommodations on the International Space Station.
It would help the Russian government compete with the likes of private companies such as SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, and Blue Origin. They all have dynamic space tourism plans that are currently underway.
This will be more expensive than typical tourism on the planet. Prices for the trips that will start at $40 million. The spacewalk and an option to stay for an entire month would be another $20 million. Building a luxury orbital hotel is a complex and expensive undertaking for the contractor.
State Corporation is the Russian governmental entity that is responsible for Russia’s space science program. It has already started to review the business plan that has been proposed by the space station contractor.
The idea is to use revenue from the space tourists to pay for construction of the 20-ton, 15.5-meter-long module that will house four sleeping quarters and two “hygiene and medical” stations.
Keep in mind, this is not a new idea. Talk of a luxury space hotel floats at least from 2010. Russian aerospace company then said it planned to build such a station by 2016. That has yet to materialize.
As Popular Mechanics notes, the external structure of this luxury hotel looks a lot like the Science and Power Module, NEM-1, which Russia is currently building for the ISS. The NEM-1, which has been delayed several times, is now expected to be completed in 2021.
The original plans for ISS had a two NEM modules, but Russia only funded one. This second, luxury module—specially outfitted for space tourists—would allow Russia to fulfil that initial plan.
It has been fifty years since Russian Yuri Gagarin became the first human to experience the spaceflight. Now Russia appears to be on at the start of a breakthrough industry. Space tourism is knocking on the doors.
Of course, building a luxury orbital suite is no simple or cheap matter.