Here at Galavanting, we’ve made no secret about our obsession with space travel (alright, my obsession). And, surprise, surprise, here’s some more news about touring the final frontier. According to Reuters, several Russian companies unveiled plans to develop that country’s space tourism industry.
One such company, Orbital Technologies, hopes to build an orbiting hotel by 2016. The hotel will accommodate seven guests for five days at $1 million a pop. Orbiting at 217 miles above the Earth, “the hotel would be more comfortable than the space station, but did not promise luxury.”
Orbital Technologies made its announcement alongside other Russian firms looking to enter the space tourism industry at MAKS air show in Zhukovsky, outside Moscow. Now that NASA has retired its shuttle program, different companies are entering the space tourism game. One company, state-owned RKK Energia plans to build a replacement shuttle for the 40-year-old Soyuz craft currently used by Russia. Currently, the Soyuz is the only way to join up with the International Space Station, though costs $50 million dollars a ride.
The Russians have a lot of catching up to do, according to both foreign and state officials. It’s an upward climb to obtain funding, especially when compared to private firms in the United States. In the article:
Russian officials say at least one of four U.S. companies at the forefront of the commercial space industry could develop space taxis by 2016 to take astronauts into low Earth orbit, up to an altitude of about 2,000 km (1,250 miles).
Russia, on the other hand, has to contend with older equipment, race against established companies like Boeing to replace the existing Soyuz and also develop a new tourism program, whereas these problems are less of an issue in the better-funded programs of the US.