The Final Frontier
Ever since the days of the popular television show Star Trek, outer space has been the final frontier. Man has conquered all other forms of travel, from high speed air travel to luxury ocean liners that travel around the world. But what’s going on in outer space? A lot.
Richard Branson has big plans for space travel under his umbrella Virgin Galactic, and he’ll have good company, as the kind folks at Galactic Suite are working hard to make sure you have somewhere to stay when you arrive.
The Galactic Suite hotel started out as a hobbyist project by its founder, aerospace engineer Xavier Claramunt. The concept model looks like several long tubes connecting in a central structure. Three of the tubes are suites and they can hold six customers in a stay.
Visitors to the station will remain mobile in the lack of gravity with Velcro shoes, similar to the ones that Stanley Kubrick featured in 2001: A Space Odyssey, and will shower in a “spa room” with floating bubbles of water.
The spacecraft will make a full circle of Earth every 90 minutes; that means visitors can enjoy a sunrise and sunset every 45 minutes!
If you want to visit, you’ll need deep pockets: a three-night visit will cost you approximately US$4 million per person. However, with that price the Galactic Suite kindly offers a complimentary eight-week stay on a tropical island. (That’s your intensive space-training program, by the way, to ensure your safety during travel!)
The Suite is expected to open in 2012, though the dates are shrouded in controversy as little evidence of construction progress has been provided to date. In addition, there’s the thorny problem of getting there; they’ve said they will use Russian rockets, though the Russians seem to have plenty of other things on the agenda.
There’s no sign of suborbital space tourism taking off just yet, and no updates are readily available for the Galactic Suite. The company’s website still projects a start date of late 2012, but we suspect that may be a little optimistic. Meanwhile, there’s no shortage of competitors, with Virgin Galactic leading the field (over 400 downpayments have been made so far). Other companies to watch for include RocketShip Tours, Space Adventures, Starchaser, Blue Origin, Armadillo Aerospace, and Project Enterprise.
all images by Galactic Suite