I wrote about this yesterday at Gadling as well, but thought some would find it interested here too. The company behind the Galactic Suite Space Resort says that the orbiting hotel is set to begin operations in 2012 after receiving some much needed venture capital in the form of a $3 billion investment from an anonymous billionaire who is described as a “space enthusiast”.
The company says that it has already had more than 200 inquiries for potential guests, and that they already have 43 reservations in place. That’s no small number when you consider that the cost for a three-night stay is currently set at $4.4 million. That includes an eight week training program on a South Pacific Island and transportation to and from the hotel.
When it first begins operations, the Galactic Suite Space Resort will have just one pod in place. That will allow up to four people, and two pilots, to live comfortably for the duration of the stay. In the future, new pods can be added to expand capacity as needed. The pods have velcro lined walls to keep passengers in place, and will complete a revolution around the Earth once every 80 minutes, offering 15 sunrises each day. Of course, the view out the window won’t be half bad either.
Obviously the price tag on this trip is still far beyond what a normal person can pay, but it is interesting to watch a new travel industry beginning to take shape right before our eyes. With Virgin Galactic set to begin operations soon, it isn’t too much of stretch to think that we may see space tourism become a viable option within our lifetime.
That said, the 2012 time frame for this project seems a bit ambitious. Even with $3 billion in cash they still have to launch their first pod, get it fully operational, and have some kind of delivery system for taking passengers up to it on a regular, consistent basis. I’m just not sure how they can do that in the short time frame they’re looking to work with. And while $3 billion sounds like a lot of money, when it comes to dealing with high tech space gear, it really doesn’t go as far as you’d think. Still, you can sign me up for a couple of night’s stay, once it becomes a tad bit more affordable!
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