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Virgin Galactic Plans Space Hotels, Day Trips to the Moon

 

The suborbital space firm has audacious plans for orbit, although experts debate their current feasibility

 

virgin-galactic-space-hotels_1.jpg

 

Fancy a day?s outing skimming above the moon?s surface in a private two-person spaceship? If you?re staying at a future space hotel planned by Virgin Galactic, that may be an option.

In a speech to Virgin Galactic customers on September 27, the company?s founder, Sir Richard Branson, outlined these plans and more for the future of his commercial space fleet. ?Using small, purpose-built, two-man spaceships based at space hotels our guests will be able to take breathtaking day trips programmed to fly a couple of hundred feet above of the moon?s surface,? Branson said. ?They will be able to take in with their own eyes awe-inspiring views of mountains, craters and vast dry seas below.?

The plans are certainly audacious for a company that has yet to fly a customer to space. Still, more than 500 people have already paid deposits toward the $200,000 trips soon to be offered aboard Virgin Galactic?s SpaceShipTwo vehicle. These journeys will reach a peak altitude of 110 kilometers?just over the 100-kilometer height considered to mark the beginning of space?and will be suborbital flights, which return to the ground before making a full orbit of Earth.

 

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Still, more than 500 people have already paid deposits toward the $200,000 trips soon to be offered aboard Virgin Galactic?s SpaceShipTwo vehicle. 

 

I'll have to wait until they get economy class sections.

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It's not so silly as some "experts" think. Virgin Galactic could also contract for rides on the coming commercial crew spacecraft (DragonRider, Dream Chaser, CST-100 or XCOR's Lynx follow on.) With 7 passenger capacities the commercial crew spacecraft would be cheaper per seat than a 2-person craft, and there's then potential for reusable boosters - SpaceX's Falcon 9R.

The space "hotel" could be one of Bigelow Aerospace's commercial space stations - a test module for which gets its ISS test in just.over a year. Their tech can be used to build single modules that are 2x as large as the entire ISS is now: 2,100 cubic meters.

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