Guests seeking an exclusive experience will soon be able to book a room in space, with the Galactic Suite Project opening its ‘doors' in 2012.
The Barcelona based company is offering experiences combining an 18-week preparation course - on a Caribbean island - and three nights accommodation in an "orbital hotel" for around EUR 3 million (US $4.1 million).
On the first trips we believe guests will be space enthusiasts wealthy enough to pay the ticket price.
During their time in space the hotel guests are expected to witness 15 sunsets per day, and they will also be able to take part in scientific experiments.
The project was established in January this year by a collection of architects, aerospace engineers and industrial engineers from Spain and the United States, and has attracted investor interest from Japan and the United Arab Emirates.
Hotelier Middle East caught up with Galactic Suites Project director Xavier Claramunt to find out more about the project.
What can guests expect from their time on the training programme?
The Galactic Suite Project is been conceived to provide the most exciting experience ever. It is not just a trip in space, it is a global experience that starts on earth when arriving at the Galactic Suite Spaceport, continues during the training, and arrives at its climax in orbit at the Galactic Suite Space Resort.
The island will allocate all the facilities needed to make the ground experience as exciting as the orbital [experience]. The flight participants, and their families, will be accommodated in a hotel resort with villas on the shore. Central buildings will house facilities such restaurants, shops, beauty centres and convention centres.
The flight participant will have a half-day training and half-day free to spend with their family, doing open-air activities like golf, sports, [or] diving. The training and medical centres will be located in a different part of the island reserved only for the flight participants. A recreational area will house a space museum, simulators, cinemas and several look-outs towards the spaceport, which will be situated on a [nearby] island.
And what will guests experience when they are in the orbital hotel?
The Space Resort will have three rooms for guests, where they will experience the weightlessness in a maximized empty space where [they can] float around. They will also be able to watch the Earth and stars. HUD [heads up display] technology will provide information on geographic highlights both on Earth and [in the] sky, [such as the] names of stars and distances. A spa module will also provide different activities such as zero-G cycling, jogging and the best bath the guest could ever have: floating in empty space he will be able to play with huge bubbles.
Who are you marketing the hotel to? What sort of guests do you expect to see making bookings at the property?
On the first trips we believe guests will be space enthusiasts wealthy enough to pay the ticket [price], but further on other rich people will sign up for such a once-in-a-lifetime experience. They will probably be people who have the power to change things. We aim to provide them with a transcendent experience that will also make them change their view of our planet, and actively act to protect it.
How many "rooms" will the hotel have? What is the limit on the number of people that can go at one time?
The space resort is conceived to have one service module, three room modules and one spa module. Counting on the fact that there will probably be more single passengers than couples, the spaceship will only have capacity for four passengers and two crew to be accommodated in those three rooms, one double and two single.
You have stated that the company plans to work with scientific organisations interested in obtaining samples from tourists in zero gravity conditions - how would this work, and has there been any interest in this from the scientific community?
The Galactic Suite Project will also carry out simple scientific experiments in coordination with scientific organisations such as universities. This is aiming to be both a public service to all of society, and to provide the flight participant with a mission to accomplish besides resting, stargazing and thinking.
What has the reaction been to news that you plan to launch a space hotel? Have you had a lot of interest or bookings?
People have reacted in a very positive manner. At the moment we have at 28 reservations and hundreds of emails expressing interest for the project, asking for information, or offering cooperation.
How much is the space hotel going to cost to build and operate?
This information is confidential.
Do you have any competitors that you know of who are offering a similar product to your company's?
We know about one company which is developing inflatable modules to accommodate guests in orbit.
What sort of testing and safety procedures will you conduct to make sure the product is safe?
Spain is developing a global administrative centre that takes charge of all Spanish based space activities, like CNES (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales) in France or DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt) in Germany.
Being a Spanish company, Galactic Suite Ltd will meet all their regulations in everything, including liability, insurance, certifications and registration.
How long has the idea of the Galactic Suite Project been in development for?
Galactic Suite Ltd is based in Barcelona. Though the company was founded in 2006, the Galactic Suite Project itself started two years earlier.
Can we expect to see more than one space hotel in orbit?
The Galactic Suite Resort is conceived as a five-module space station. It is not planned to grow further than this. Instead, we are planning to have several resorts in different orbits [which] have different views of the Earth, and provide the guest with the [view] over his country.For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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