With private companies like SpaceX making serious expeditions into space, the dream of launching into orbit is no longer a privilege reserved for competitively selected astronauts. While spaceflight will likely not be accessible to the average person anytime soon, companies like SpaceX show us that with enough money and innovation, destinations like the International Space Station are accessible to more than governmental agencies.
Russia seems to have recognized the potential for space tourism, and has announced plans to create a luxury hotel on the ISS.
Many agencies are pushing to make space travel viable for civilians, and since the advent of private space companies like SpaceX, an average Joe reaching space looks more realistic now.
Russia seems to have caught on to the growing trend and has announced plans to create a luxury hotel on the International Space Station.
According to the plan, amenities will include a luxury orbital suite offering private cabins with big windows, dedicated hygiene facilities, exercise equipment and Wi-Fi.
Though the possibility of heading to space might sound cool, it will be really expensive. The package which includes spacewalks with a professional Russian cosmonaut, will cost over $60 million for a month in space.
The price for a one person tour without the spacewalk will cost roughly $40 million per person.
According to a proposal under review of the Roskosmos State Corporation, the 20-ton, 15.5-meter-long module would provide 92 cubic meters of pressurized space. There will be four rooms with two cubic meters of space each, as well as two “hygiene and medical” stations of roughly the same size.
Though these trips are really expensive, and Russia’s prime space station contractor, RKK Energia, estimates the tourist module that will cost between $279-$466 million.
The externals of the module looks like the Science and Power Module, NEM-1, which Russia is currently building for the ISS. A second NEM module was also on the cards but the Russian government funded only one.
Now, RKK Energia has come up with a scheme to realize the second NEM module through a mix of private and state investments.
To recoup the cost, RKK Energia is looking to monetize the NEM 2 which will join the Russian section of the space station. They have proposed to carry up to six tourists to the ISS annually, with hopes to pay for the construction over a period of around seven years.
A luxury hotel for the ISS sounds like a distant dream that we are hurtling towards. As space becomes more accessible, over-the counter space components will make manufacturing costs of a space module really cheap.
CubeSat technology and other major developments are heading our way. Elon Musk announced that moon will become our base to launch into deep space exploration. But, alongside these scientific plans people also want to head to space. Keeping this in mind NASA and several private players including SpaceX and Virgin Galactic are working hand in hand to make this more viable.
As we explore space deeper, we have realized the immense potential that it holds. Recently, a Chinese company proposed plans and raised a lot of money for a project that proposed a billboard being raised on the surface of the Moon.
Imagine the Nike swish or the Starbucks lady on the moon. Visiting a mall on Mars and surfing on Titan are all part of the plan but, to get to that point in development, space tourism has to kick off and Russia taken a step in that direction.