Thousand-star hotels set for launch

Two Russian rockets will launch the first hotels into orbit this year.
The accommodation – which is inflatable – is the latest venture by the owner of a major US motel chain.
Bob Bigelow, who runs Budget Suites of America, has booked to test fly his hotels on two converted SS-18 intercontinental ballistic missiles.
He is aiming to offer out-of-this-world holidays at non-inflated prices by the end of the decade.
Bigelow Aerospace, of Las Vegas, based the inflatable modules on a design that Nasa abandoned for a blow-up space station called TransHab.
The walls are a foot thick to protect against impacts from meteors and other space debris.
Launch dates for scaled-down test models of Bigelow’s design are an official secret under US restrictions because of the use of Dnepr missiles as rockets.
The tycoon is so keen to get his hotel into space that he is offering a £30million prize to the first company who can fly a spacecraft carrying five passengers and dock with one of his orbiting hotel by 2010.

Paul Sutherland

Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.
Paul Sutherland

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Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.

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