A Russian firm on Wednesday announced an ambitious bid to fill the vacuum in the space tourism market by stationing an orbiting hotel in the cosmos.
The Moscow-based Orbital Technologies has sky-high hopes that its planned Commercial Space Station can serve as a tourism hub for well-heeled travellers and offer overspill accommodation for the International Space Station and workspace for science projects.
But it's unlikely to come anytime soon - the company wants to launch a seven-room station by 2016 but may increase or decrease that capacity based on customer demand, The Associated Press reports.
A cosy fit, the first module will measure just 20 cubic metres (706 cubic feet) and have four cabins, designed for up to seven passengers, who would go into orbit using the Soyuz shuttle, chief executive Kostenko said.
Up to now space tourists, who have included the Canadian founder of the Cirque du Soleil, Guy Laliberte, have squeezed into the International Space Station (ISS) along with cosmonauts and animal life including fruit flies.
The new hotel will offer more comforts than the ISS, Kostenko said, AFP informs.
France is used to terminating large-scale contracts, as that was the case of the Russian-French deal on Mistral helicopter carriers