BARCELONA (Reuters) – A company behind plans to open the first hotel in space says it is on target to accept its first paying guests in 2012 despite critics questioning the investment and time frame for the multi-billion dollar project.
The Barcelona-based architects of The Space Resort say it will cost 3 million euro (2.7 million pounds) for a three-night stay at the hotel, with this price including an eight-week training course on a tropical island.
During their stay, guests would see the sun rise 15 times a day and travel around the world every 80 minutes. They would wear velcro suits so they can crawl around their pod rooms by sticking themselves to the walls like Spiderman.
Galactic Suite Ltd's CEO Xavier Claramunt, a former aerospace engineer, said the project will put his company (http://www.galacticsuite.com ) at the forefront of an infant industry with a huge future ahead of it, and forecast space travel will become common in the future.
"It's very normal to think that your children, possibly within 15 years, could spend a weekend in space," he told Reuters Television.
A nascent is beginning to take shape with construction underway in New Mexico of, the world's first facility built specifically for space-bound commercial customers and fee-paying passengers.
British tycoon Richard Branson's space tours firm, , will use the facility to propel tourists into suborbital space at a cost of $200,000 (122,000 pounds) a ride.
Galactic Suite Ltd, set up in 2007, hopes to start its project with a single pod in orbit 450 km (280 miles) above the earth, travelling at 30,000 km per hour, with the capacity to hold four guests and two astronaut-pilots.
It will take a day and a half to reach the pod - which Claramunt compared to a mountain retreat, with no staff to greet the traveller.
"When the passengers arrive in the rocket, they will join it for 3 days, rocket and capsule. With this we create in the tourist a confidence that he hasn't been abandoned. After 3 days the passenger returns to the transport rocket and returns to earth," he said.