Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Checking In At The Inflatable Space Hotel

SpaceToys.com Authentic NASA Toys and Replicas
Imagine relaxing in your pajamas, sipping on solar wine while reading the latest news from the Lunar Times--all from the comfort of your micro-gravity bed. The only catch is that the station your staying in has no hard floors, no direction of "up," and no cutting lasers are allowed on board.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Inflatable Space Hotel.

(Times Online) AN inflatable hotel that will orbit the Earth is being built by a millionaire hoping to kickstart interest in space tourism.

Robert Bigelow, an American hotelier who says he wants to open up space to the general public, is ploughing more than £280m into the project.

The blow-up structure will be launched on rockets and self-inflate to its full size once it is circling the globe.

Its 1ft-thick skin, made from a toughened combination of multi-layered polymer and Kevlar, will allow it to expand while keeping the astronauts protected from space meteorites.

Believe it or not, this project was originally started by NASA, but due to financial constraints they were forced to abandon it in its infancy. Bigelow decided to buy it out in an attempt to not only make money, but also attract Hollywood and drug companies into space.

(Times Online) In addition to being used as a hotel, the structure may be leased to astronauts and pharmaceutical companies wanting to use it as a medical testing centre.

Bigelow hopes the hotel, which would open some time after 2015, will also be in demand as a shooting location for film-makers.

If successful, a future space hotel could revolutionize the space construction industry. Such a project would require fewer launches, allowing NASA to concentrate its efforts on building ships and lunar craft, not to mention working on colonizing Mars.

Bigelow plans on launching a beta type first, which will test the amount of radiation received through "the vessel" (and other dangers) before populating it with humans.

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You can either visit the stars or watch them from afar.

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~Darnell Clayton, 2007

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