US startup Orion Span Inc. has announced plans to open a luxury hotel in space, 300km from Earth, in 2021.
Specialising in space technology, Houston startup Orion Span Inc. has revealed that it is planning to put a hotel by the name of Aurora Station into orbit in 2021. The announcement was made at the Space 2.0 Summit in San Jose, California, on 5 April. The future hotel is expected to house as many as six people – four guests and two crew.
Future space tourists will be able to enjoy a 12-day stay some 300km from our planet, during which time they will admire 384 sunrises and sunsets, all for a total cost of $9.5m per person (€7.7m), or $792,000 a night, as reported by the website Tom Travel. "We’re not selling a hey-let’s-go-to-the-beach equivalent in space," said Orion Span Inc. founder and CEO Frank Bunger. "We’re selling the experience of being an astronaut. You reckon that there are people who are willing to pay to have that experience."
A space hotel with modular architecture
Thanks to the modular architecture of the future Aurora Station, new elements can be added to it in line with requirements and commercial constraints. Measuring 13 metres long and four metres wide and with a pressurised volume of 160m³, the hotel will welcome private individuals, companies, institutes and space agencies, who can use it for experiences and talks. Professional astronauts can even use it to train.
"Upon launch, Aurora Station will go into service immediately, bringing travellers into space quicker and at a lower price point than ever seen before, while still providing an unforgettable experience", said Bunger, as reported by National Geographic. "Our goal is to make space accessible to all, by continuing to enhance quality of service, but at a lower cost." By way of comparison, members of the public have been sent to the International Space Station at a cost of between €16m and €32m.
Competition from NASA
Aurora Station is not the first luxury space hotel project. Last summer saw NASA and MIT graduate students present one of their own, entitled MARINA (Managed, Reconfigurable, In-space Nodal Assembly), which is designed to replace the International Space Station and operate both as a research facility and a hotel, all with a view to enabling NASA to cut its operating costs.
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