Russian space hotel development underway

A Russian company which plans to build the world's first space hotel has released further details on its ambitious project.

The plan, which would see a hotel placed into orbit some 350 kilometers above the earth, was first unveiled last year by Russian firm Orbital Technologies as a commercial alternative to the International Space Station.

This week, it revealed further details of the design at an aviation industry event in Moscow, suggesting that it will be able to accommodate seven people at a time - with the most incredible views you're likely to get out of a window.

While floating above the earth, guests are likely to be able to watch TV and surf the internet, reports suggest, although that will probably be the end of it, as venturing outside (along with drinking and smoking) won't be allowed.

Cuisine, for that matter, may not be particularly impressive either, and it will come with a hefty carbon footprint, having been prepared and freeze-dried on earth before being shuttled up.

There are four rooms, but visitors prepared to shell out for the two-day trip in a rocket to get there shouldn't expect an ensuite bathroom on arrival - in fact, they shouldn't expect any showers at all, as washing will be done with wet-wipes.

Orbital Technologies says that the design and development of the space station is underway, and it is expected to launch in 2016.

If you can't wait until then, there are always commercial flights into space which are scheduled to begin much sooner - Virgin Galactic, for instance, expects to welcome its first space tourists for a non-stop trip above the atmosphere next year.