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Will New Space Hotel Send Space Tourism Into Orbit?

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The moonSpace, the final frontier, is a little closer to becoming the next big tourist destination.

First entrepreneurs developed sub-orbital spacecraft that could theoretically put rich folks into orbit for a few hours – for a hefty fee. Now a Barcelona-based company has put together a concept for a galactic space resort and expects to receive its first paying guests by the year 2012.

But is it safe? How much will it cost? Is it even feasible? Keep reading to find out the fantastic details of a space vacation…

Brave visitors would begin with a two-month astronaut training crash course at a spaceport on a tropical island. Two astronaut pilots would then lead guests on a day-and-a-half-long journey to the space resort via rocket ship.

Learn more: Mass Space Travel: Real Possibility or Ridiculous Pipe Dream?

Space & EarthThe proposed hotel would be large enough to accommodate four passenger-guests, and two astronaut guides.

Located 280 miles above the earth, the space resort would complete one full orbit every 80 minutes and guests would see the sun rise 15 times a day. They would also be outfitted with Velcro suits to help them navigate the the pod-like suites in weightless conditions.

A stay in the space hotel won’t come cheap.

If you want to plan a weekend getaway at the Galactic Suite Space Resort, you’d better start saving now. Architects estimate that a three-night stay at the hotel, which includes the two-month tropical training course, will set you back an astronomical $4.4 million. (There is no word as to whether or not that fee includes HBO or wireless Internet access.)

Find more high-end travel experiences in our Luxury Travel section.

Spaceport AmericaXavier Claramunt, CEO of Galactic Suite Ltd. and a former aerospace engineer, thinks the space tourism industry is about to take off.

A facility known as Spaceport America is currently under construction in New Mexico. The port would be the first of its kind to exclusively cater to commercial space travel. Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic plans to use the facility launch stargazers on $200,000 sub-orbital jaunts through space.

Critics of the project have said that the 2012 target date is unrealistic, but 43 people have already made reservations, with another 200 reportedly expressing interest.

By Dan Bence for PeterGreenberg.com.

Related Links: Galactic Suite, Times Online (UK), Reuters

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