Russia may have lost the first space race to America - but it is now on course to become the Thomas Cook of the Milky Way with a hotel among the stars.
Design plans were unveiled in Moscow this week by Orbital Technologies, the Russian company seeking to get wealthy tourists boldly going where they have never gone before.
While the price may not seem too astronomical, with initial claims suggesting a five-day stay may cost around 100,000, its going to cost a cool 250,000 to get there.
And aside from the spectacular view, theres not much else to do, so youd be wise to take a good book.
So far only 500 people have been into space.
Aside from a few very rich men willing to pay for the privilege, they have all been trained astronauts and cosmonauts.
Orbitals chief executive Sergei Kostenko said his orbiting hotel will be 'far more comfortable than the International Space Station.
With room for seven guests in four cabins, visitors to the 706 cubic feet pod will be able to see the wonders of space through huge windows.
Called the CSS (Commercial Space Station) it will be built 217 miles above the earth and accessed via Russian Soyuz rockets.
Available for use as an emergency bolthole for astronauts aboard the manned space station, visitors will also be able to choose beds that are either vertical or horizontal - due to the weightlessness of space.
And its showers will be totally sealed to stop water going where it shouldnt.
Mr Kostenko said: 'Our planned module inside will not remind you of the ISS.
A hotel should be comfortable inside, and it will be possible to look at the Earth through large portholes.
MO

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 17-Aug-2011 here.