Russian company Orbital Technology adds “space hotel” to its list of under-development projects.
Space – the final frontier – both for scientific exploration and the greed and drive of capitalism. Enter the “Commercial Space Station” (CSS), brainchild of the Russian design firm Orbital Technology and slated for launch in 2016.
The CSS is intended to be a floating “space hotel” that will hold up to seven passengers – be they rich tourists, scientists looking to work out the bugs of a crazy (if brilliant) theory, or private entrepreneurs and reclusive businessmen who simply can’t get clearance to test whatever it is they’d like to test down on Earth.
So far, it’s only Orbital Technology and an American company called Bigelow Aerospace that have thrown their hats in to the space tourism ring. Bigelow is targeting a 2014-2015 launch with a smaller capsule that is not classed as a “hotel”, but both they and Orbital Technology are looking to muscle in on a potentially lucrative market.
The CSS: kinda looks like a hairdryer.
Orbital Technology claims to have secured both Russian and American funding and has tapped RSC Energia to build the CSS – the same company that builds spacecraft for the Russian Space Agency. It is their hope to have the CSS serviced by standard Russian spacecraft and also to have their floating space hotel act as overflow space in the event of an emergency on the International Space Station (ISS).
While there’s certainly a market for such a hotel, and while the fees to stay even one night would be astronomical, space is hardly something we’ve got “all figured out”. Even the best earth-bound methods available for creating space-faring vessels are subject to the often random and sometimes violent rigors of space, and there’s no telling just how a built-for-profit, floating space palace will stand up to things like Solar Wind, micro asteroids and good old fashioned debris floating around in orbit.
Overall, the idea is engaging if not practical, but might just be a way to avoid the constant threat of bed bugs found down here in ground-bound lodging.
Here’s hoping the company doesn’t space out – or does, as the case may be.
Source: Discover Magazine