The Space Hotel may sound like something out of science fiction, but it’s closer to becoming reality. As the space programs transition from government-financed missions to more commercial applications, that means that dream of going to space is no longer reserved for the well-trained and in-shape NASA astronauts. Of course, in these early years of space tourism, it still takes some money, time, and training to spend your nights among the stars.
It will be a while before you find a Hilton or Hampton Inn in space, but lucky travelers soon will be able to reserve space on the first Commercial Space Station. The project, which is under development, is a partnership between two Russian companies: Orbital Technologies and Rocket and Space Corporation Energia. The CSS, nicknamed the Space Hotel, will serve as a gathering place, research station, and cargo space in low-earth orbit.
Two Russian spacecraft—Progress and Soyuz—will provide transportation, and the design will allow other commercial vehicles designed by Chinese, European, and American companies safely dock at the Space Hotel. In orbit 250 miles above the earth, the CSS will have room for up to a seven people at a time. Talk about exclusive accommodations!
Before arriving at the Space Hotel, guests will need to undergo some training, the length of which depends on the type of spacecraft they use to arrive at the CSS. Some people can complete their training in as little as three days, and others may take three months. Once they arrive, space tourists won’t find they same amenities they would on land, and this includes gravity. Along with the fun of floating, CSS guests will have communications with those back on earth and Internet access. Guests also will eat like true astronauts—meals will be prepared and freeze-dried before the journey.