Space hotel accepting guests within five years

The reality of spending the night in an outer space hotel is coming sooner than you might imagine.

We’ve posted before about billionaire space enthusiast Robert T. Bigelow’s efforts to launch the first space hotel, and now we follow up with a more detailed insight into the man himself and the plans he has in store for future citizen astronauts.

The cool thing about Bigelow’s pie-in-the-sky project is that he has already launched working prototypes which are currently circling the globe and providing internet surfers with some pretty cool satellite photos (most recently of the fires in Southern California).

The prototypes are basically pods made of a special, flexible fabric that weighs less than standard space station materials, just as strong, and is easily compactable for rocket ship transport.

Here’s the best thing, however. Bigalow plans to have a six-person module ready to accept paying guests by 2012. That’s just five years away! That gives us all plenty of time to save up the $12 million price tag for the four-week outer space adventure. In the meantime, I just hope that jealous Russian cosmonauts protecting their monopoly on space tourism don’t arrange a little “accident” for their up-and-coming competition.