Via Inhabitat: Space tourism has become a reality — albeit for the extremely rich, like Richard Branson. Now Russian design team Orbital Technologies are jumping on board the market for galactic vacations with their Commercial Space Station (CSS) hotel pod. Designed to be serve as a multiuse space station, the solar-powered orbiting space leisure craft could be a new vacation destination by 2016.
CSS will orbit the Earth from 217 miles away, where it will serve as a space station for scientific missions, as well as commercial use. Seven guests can luxuriate in one of the four hotel cabins on a vacation that offers views like no other – via large viewing portholes. Guests sleep in zippered vertical or horizontal sleeping bags, which keep them safe from floating about the cabin – a bit different from traditional camping. The bathrooms feature waterless air-flushing toilets. Tourists get a little more luxury than regular old astronauts – they may shower in a fully-sealed water cubicle, as opposed to the sponge baths that most astronauts endure when on a mission.
Also unlike “regular’ astronauts, no freeze-dried ice cream or spaghetti will be munched. Prepared on Earth, gourmet meals such as “braised veal cheeks with wild mushrooms and white bean puree,” are transported, then microwaved on board the hotel deck. Unfortunately, no alcohol is allowed.
After the peak space tourist season is over, CSS can be used for up to six months by scientists, and it will serve as an emergency station should a passing space craft face trouble.
No need to worry how you’ll get to the hotel pod – Orbital Technologies has made this an all-inclusive trip. The leisurely two-day journey by Soyuz rocket will set you back around $826,000. A five night hotel stay, including the microwaved gourmet meals, weighs in at just $165,000.