How could a hotel orbit the Earth?

The Space Hotel Experience

Galactic Suite promises its customers eight weeks of training on a Caribbean island, which will also be the site of its spaceport.
Galactic Suite promises its customers eight weeks of training on a Caribbean island, which will also be the site of its spaceport.
© Photographer: Eric Rivera | Agency:

Should the Galactic Suite hotel open as expected, a three-day stay will set you back at least $4 million (3 million euros). To prepare for the trip, participants spend eight weeks training on an island in the Caribbean, the cost of which is included in the $3 million fee. Following the training, a space shuttle, possibly launched from Galactic Suite's private spaceport on the island, will ferry the guests to the hotel.

Once onboard the hotel, guests will wear Velcro suits that allow them to stick to the rooms' walls. The hotel's orbit will take it around the Earth in only 80 minutes, allowing guests to see 15 sunrises a day [source: Yahoo News]. Besides spending three days ogling sunrises, tourists will also help with scientific experiments. An escape rocket will be attached to the outside of the hotel.

Some of the details regarding the hotel's facilities remain unclear. Claramunt said that the company is still tackling the problem of bathrooms, specifically toilets. Instead of traditional showers -- which don't work in a weightless environment -- Galactic Suite will employ a spa filled with water bubbles drifting through the air.

As How Space Tourism Works explains, numerous companies are seeking to be the first vacation provider in space. In June 2007, Bigelow Aerospace launched into space its second miniature prototype of an inflatable space hotel. Virgin Airways founder and noted philanthropist Richard Branson is banking on his Virgin Galactic company.

Eventually, someone will bring tourists to space, though it may be farther off than we think. Galactic Suite's projected 2012 opening seems almost impossible when one considers the enormous infrastructure investment required. Transporting supplies, getting reusable launch vehicles, fielding potential government regulation and building a spaceport require huge amounts of money, expertise and careful testing. Some of the technology exists, but can it be put together within five years? (Galactic Suite made its 2012 prediction in the summer of 2007.) Then there's the concern about whether the companies involved can justify or offset the vast amounts of greenhouse gases produced by their rocket flights.

For more information about space hotels, space tourism and related topics, please check out the links below.

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  • "About CTAE." Aerospace Research and Technology Centre.
  • "R+D Projects." Aerospace Research and Technology Centre.
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  • Atkins, William. "Welcome to the space hotel Galactic Suite." iTWire. Aug. 13, 2007.
  • Gardner, David. "Hotel Galactic: First-ever 'space hotel' to be launched in 'five years' - with astronomical rates." Daily Mail. Aug. 13, 2007.
  • Gray, Richard. "Space hotel to offer guests 18 sunrises a day." The Telegraph. Aug. 12, 2007.
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