Russia wants to turn the ISS into a hotel for wealthy tourists

Russia wants to turn the ISS into a hotel for wealthy tourists


According to the latest data, for the existence of the space industry in orbit was visited only by 559 people. However, after a few years this figure can increase. All dreaming of space tourism. SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin – they all want to reach the level of regular space launches. To join the trend of “affordable space travel” decided and Russia, which intends to build a “luxury hotel” on the ISS, reports Popular Mechanics.

Of such desire was stated at the beginning of the year. At that time the General Director of rocket and space Corporation, Vladimir Solntsev said:

“MKS is loaded at 30%. This is the trend nationwide, underutilized. Is the expansion of the Russian segment and replace, we have modules on the ISS fly for 20-25 years, and they went out for resources, and their use for experimentation and serious work less appropriate. Why, for example, it is not transformed in some kind of space hotel, relatively speaking. Those modules that we have adapted for space tourism”.

From the plans, as it became known, not abandoned, but instead of using already existing on the International space station modules now considered the option of creating a new one. The module developer is Corporation “Energy”, which is currently seeking funds to create a unit. According to available information, under the space hotel is expected to process design scientific and energy module (NEM) with weight of 20 tons, a length of 15.5 meters and a volume of 92 cubic meters, the original version of which is currently being developed. According to the draft Federal space program for 2016-2025, the launch of NEM to the ISS is scheduled for 2019. As for the processing module in a space hotel, then this will be done through public-private partnerships.

Design scheme of the scientific-energy module NEM-1

Just inside the unit can be equipped with four sleeping cabins, two medical rooms with a volume of two cubic meters, and a sitting area with a porthole with a diameter of 426 mm. Each tourist is a separate sleeping cabin with a volume of two cubic meters with a porthole with a diameter of 228 mm, as well as personal care products, fitness equipment, and access to Wi-Fi.

The cost of one ticket will be $ 40 million. For this price, the tourist will be able to spend aboard the International space station a week or two. Surcharge in the amount of 20 million dollars visitors can expect open access to the space, accompanied by a professional astronaut, and also to extend the presence on the ISS to a month.

Dennis Tito, the world’s first space tourist, after landing in the steppes of Kazakhstan on 6 may 2001

The cost of developing the Russian tourist module is estimated at 16.4—26,2 billion. In order to recoup these costs as quickly as possible, RSC “Energia” plans to send to the ISS in the two tourists, accompanied by a professional astronaut. If possible, exercise four starts “Unions” every year, the number of tourists staying at the station within short visits can be increased to six. According to the estimates of the Corporation, at this rate, the tourism unit will be recouped in about 7 years.

To reduce costs, RSC Energia wants to find at least 12 people willing to pay for pre-order in the amount of approximately $ 4 million in order to be able to proceed with the development of the module of the orbital hotel. Two years before the planned sending two tourists to ISS, the Corporation will expect payment in the amount of $ 12.6 million, and immediately before departure, the last tranche in the amount of 10.8 million. By the way, a similar approach was used by the company Virgin Galactic, when just beginning to realize its ambitions in the field of space tourism.

According to expert estimates, the number of millionaires in the world grows constantly. According to some estimates, by 2021, all over the world will be more 43 000 people, whose wealth exceeds $ 30 million. If at least 36 people out of this number (i.e. 0.33 per cent) will decide on unique space travel, the module will not only pay for itself but will start to make a profit.

Despite such ambitious plans, the proponents are aware that they are facing some serious problems. Primary, of course, is the technical complexity of the Assembly and equipping of the tourist module, even with the existing drawings. The second problem is time. By estimations of experts RKK “Energy” to create the module will take five years. That is, its actual launch to ISS may be held no earlier than 2022 and possibly later. It should be remembered that the state support the International space station will last only until 2028. In other words, there is a risk that the module will simply not be able to recoup itself, especially given the unstable situation in the currency market.