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Commercial Space Station to open in 2016
Orbital Technologies, a Russian space exploration firm, has released pictures of the Commercial Space Station, a "space hotel" that it plans to open for service in 2016.
The Commercial Space Station, or CSS as it's known, will orbit 217 miles above the earth and have room to accommodate up to 7 guests. Guests aboard the CSS will dine on food like braised veal cheeks with wild mushrooms and imbibe iced tea and fruit juice. Alcohol, however, will not be available. Commercial Space Station's lavatories will use air to "flush," rather than using water like earth toilets do. The cost for a five-day stay at the CSS is nearly $1 million ($800,000 round-trip airfare and the $160,000 price of the hotel stay).
Another purpose the CSS will serve, according to Orbital Technologies, is as a safety refuge for astronauts aboard the International Space Station in case of an emergency. Sergey Kostenko, the CEO of Orbital Technologies, called the CSS "a true gateway to the rest of the solar system" when the company first announced the plans in September 2010. "A short stop-over at our station will be the perfect beginning of a manned circumlunar flight," he said. "Deep space manned exploration missions planned in the next decade are also welcome to use the CSS as a waypoint and a supply station."