Russia is making a return into the space tourism industry with the development of a hotel module on the International Space Station over the next few years. The Roscosmos State Corporation has started reviewing a proposal for a 20-tonne module measuring 15.5 metres in length. It will deliver over 90 cubic metres of pressurised space divided into four cabins, two hygiene and medical stations, and a lounge. Each sleeping quarter has been designed with a nine-inch porthole, while the lounge area will have a larger 16-inch window. WiFi, gym equipment, and photowalks facilitated by a cosmonaut are among the amenities and services planned for guests.
A one to two week-trip to the Earth’s lower orbit is estimated to cost $40 million for each person. An additional $20 million will be charged for the photo walk or a month-long accommodation. The hotel module, dubbed NEM-2, will be created by RKK Energia which is known for launching the space tourism business during the 1990s. It leased the Mir Space Station to a private company and also flew guests to the ISS using the Space Shuttle. However, it stopped accommodating tourists in recent years due to the lack of orbital transportation. The Soyuz, which is Russia’s only means of space travel after the Space Shuttle’s retirement in 2011, has been busy serving Nasa’s space mission under the ISS partnership. A report says it will become available in two years after America’s contractors release their own spacecraft.