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There are currently two scheduled space hotels, and a number of organizations expressing interest in the idea. The first space hotel, named Nautilus, is likely to be launched by Bigelow Aerospace in 2010. Hilton International is working on the Space Islands Project, a scheme to link together spent Space Shuttle fuel tanks to create a large space station. When originally conceived in 1999, the hope was to get this launched by 2005, but the price tag of $6 - $12 billion US Dollars (USD) has held back the project for now.
Excalibur Almaz, a private company based in the Isle of Man, has plans to modernize and relaunch Soviet-era Almaz space stations for commercial purposes. Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin and Virgin Galactic, which is building a spaceport in New Mexico for suborbital flights, has stated that he wants to see a Virgin space hotel in his lifetime. Another organization, the Space Island Group, wants to commercialize space through solar power satellites and hotels.
By a significant margin, the furthest along in their project is Bigelow Aerospace, which has launched two experimental modules and put up a $50 million USD space prize to anyone who can develop a reusable vehicle for carrying passengers to and from a space station. Current commercial craft, such as Scaled Composites' X-Prize-winning SpaceShipOne, are designed only for suborbital flights, which barely touch the lower boundary of space, and only for a few minutes. For a viable space tourist industry to emerge, flights to orbit need to be made safe, cheap, and scalable. Currently, it is none of these things.
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