Tag Archives: Orbital Technologies

Into Orbit And Back Again

-Jamie Hershman

Would you take a vacation around the world? Literally?

One Russian firm, Orbital Technologies, believes traveling around space is going to be a hot commodity and has recently revealed plans to open a space hotel in 2016. The floating hotel called a “Commercial Space Station” will orbit 250 miles above Earth and can accommodate up to seven people at a time.

Those who want to travel on the Commercial Space Station must undergo special training that could last for three months. To stay in the space hotel, passengers have to drop some serious dough; it could cost over $750,000, and that is probably just for the shortest stay offered! The firm says it will be offering vacation times from three days to up to three months. But, half of the vacation is travel time, as it takes two days to actually make it up to space. The space hotel also does not have showers and bans alcohol, so passengers must wipe themselves off with wet wipes instead and cannot even drown their sorrows of having to shower with wet wipes in alcohol.

So what is there to even do in space? The firm says there will be Internet access and other ground communications. Basically, they are saying that all there is to do is go online, watch movies, or do whatever you can do on your own laptop—you’ll just have a view of Earth out your left window instead of your garden.

As exciting as it would be to travel to space, the lure might wear off very quickly as it costs so much money and there is really nothing to do. But, then again, the whole space hotel innovation isn’t meant for everyday folk like us, the company’s target audiences are wealthy individuals and private companies who want to do space research.

Another company called Virgin Galactic is planning to send people into space for a quick sub-orbital space flight. Considerably cheaper than Orbital Technologies, a space trip with Virgin Galactic costs a mere $220,000 for a two and a half hour flight. There have already been over 500 tickets sold, including notable passengers like Ashton Kutcher, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and Stephen Hawking.

The space flight will begin with a launch at an acceleration of 2,500 mph. But, the highlight of this trip is the six minutes of weightlessness the passengers will feel once they are safely in space where they can freely roam about the cabin. These few minutes of a gravity-free experience are what the company prides itself on. While it is a cool concept, to me, it just seems ridiculous to pay so much money for a short trip and moments without gravity.

Yes, everybody is curious about space because it is so unreachable and mysterious, but the mystery shall remain because I don’t see myself or anyone else I know spending that much money to explore it.

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Image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/bethscupham/7663247816