Associated Press [5:05am (EST) September 29, 2010]
MOSCOW – A private Russian space firm and a state-controlled spacecraft manufacturer are planning to build and operate the world's first commercial space station and expect it to launched by 2016.
Sergey Kostenko, chief executive of the Moscow-based Orbital Technologies, said in an interview with The Associated Press that the station will cater to space tourists and researchers.
Kostenko said the station will initially be equipped to host seven people but will be capable of significant expansion.
The Russian state space agency, which stands to benefit from the proposed station by leasing launching pads for service modules, says it could be used as a safety back-up for the International Space Station in emergencies.