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TTC Special: Russia and the United States compete for the first place in space tourism

TTC Special: Russia and the United States compete for the first place in space tourism

Photo: Fernando Gregory/123rf

By F. Martin

TTC Service.- As in the old days, Russians and Americans compete again but this time to be the first in the magical and mysterious trips of the space tourism.

While Russia is planning to put a luxury hotel on the International Space Station (ISS), American private corporations are working to offer paying customers a short trip to space. Unlike the so-called “Cold War”, now the two countries are opponents of at least something as pleasant as tourism.

The International Space Station (ISS) is the most complex international scientific and engineering project in history and the largest structure humans have ever put into space. This high-flying satellite is a laboratory for new technologies and an observation platform for astronomical, environmental and geological research.

Soon it could mean a space weekend for people on vacation in a space station flies at an average altitude of 248 miles (400 kilometers) above Earth.

It circles the globe every 90 minutes at a speed of about 17,500 mph (28,000 kph). In one day, the station travels about the distance it would take to go from Earth to the moon and back. A record for any tourist who claims to be a real one.

The space station can rival the brilliant planet Venus in brightness and appears as a bright moving light across the night sky.

According to Popular Mechanics U.S. magazine Russian space corporation Roscosmos’ plan to build on that bright moving light a luxury hotel on the ISS it will enable to anyone whose pockets are deep enough to spend at least $40 million for the experience to stay there for a week or two.

RKK Energia is already building the first of the two modules to serve as a science laboratory and power supply station. Although the second module has always been part of the plan, the Russian government is only paying for the first one.

The inside of the second module, however, will have four sleeping quarters around two cubic meters each with 9-inch windows. It will also have two “medical and hygiene” stations, as well as a lounge area with a 16-inch window.

RKK Energia is hoping to fly one or two tourists per Soyuz flight after NASA stops buying seats on the capsule for astronauts headed to the ISS, which will happen once Boeing’s and SpaceX’s commercial crew program vehicles are ready.

In United States Virgin Galactic CEO Sir Richard Branson said last month to entrepreneurs that the first space trip that his company is preparing could be possible by early 2018.

Virgin Galactic has been testing for several years the capabilities of their ship, the VSS Unity, a commercial suborbital spaceplane. Earlier in 2017 they tested the ship’s re-entry system after successfully completing a couple of solo-glide flights in 2016.