Looking for accommodations that are out of this world? Then you’ll be happy to hear that Houston-based startup Orion Span has plans for an extraterrestrial luxury space hotel that it hopes to launch in 2021 and have ready for occupancy the following year. The announcement was made recently at the Space 2.0 Summit in San Jose, California.
The modular hotel, dubbed “Aurora Station,” will house six people at a time, as well as two crew members, while orbiting 200 miles high and circling the Earth every 90 minutes. It’s not a destination for the budget traveler, however — wealthy space tourists will need to pony up $9.5 million per person, or about $791,666 per night, for a 12-night stay. Room service and a minibar are probably not included.
“We’re selling the experience of being an astronaut,” CEO Frank Bunger told Bloomberg. “You reckon that there are people who are willing to pay to have that experience.”
Potential guests will need to undergo a three-month training regimen prior to launch, beginning with online courses and progressing to contingency training in Houston. The company says it has “taken what was historically a 24-month training regimen to prepare travelers to visit a space station and streamlined it to three months, at a fraction of the cost.”
The spacecraft itself will be approximately 34 feet long and 14 feet wide, or about the size of a private jet. Guests will be able to experience zero gravity, watch the sun rise 16 times per day, participate in research experiments, and even kick back in a virtual reality holodeck.
Several companies have expressed interest in plans for space tourism, so hotels in orbit can’t be too far off. Orion Span has no contract yet with a launch provider, leading to questions about the aggressive timeline of the venture. Analysts suggested to Bloomberg that the announcement could be an effort to attract publicity and funding, rather than an outline of a realistic time frame.
Executives at the company are former NASA employees who worked on the International Space Station. Bunger said the Aurora Station design will work with current launch configurations such as those used by SpaceX. He also suggested the possibility of partnering with a government space agency.
The company didn’t disclose how much it’s planning to raise for the Aurora Station project, but Bunger predicted that costs will decline rapidly in the near future. “Everybody’s forecasting that they’re going to fall,” he added. “Almost every week, there’s another rocket launch company that’s starting up with a new way to get to orbit cheaper, faster, better.”
You can reserve your spot now by making a fully refundable $80,000 deposit on the company’s website.
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