Sure, we all dream of a room with a view. But how would you feel about visiting a hotel with views that are literally out of this world?
Given the fact that a lot of people want to go to space—whether those dreams entail just floating around or, you know, settling on Mars—we need a place for people to stay. The word ‘station’, though, sounds very utilitarian; it brands a place as one of work or industry, where the necessary meets the chaotic. No one planning a leisurely trip to space wants to stay at a space station.
No — they want a space hotel. Perhaps a boutique luxury hotel. With a great view. And sure enough, there are plenty on the horizon. For now they’re stations, of sorts, but this is just the beginning.
Orion Span, a US-based space tech start-up, plans to launch a hotel, in space, sometime in 2021. The station is called Aurora, and it will cater to adventurous space tourists in need of a place to stay. And it won’t be long before they get some competition. Space hotel rooms for everyone!
How to Get There
The company claims that space training will soon be streamlined, reducing a typical astronaut regimen from twenty-four months down to a mere three. Then there is the fee. “Our goal is to make space accessible to all,” said Frank Bunger, CEO and founder of Orion Span, in a statement. “Upon launch, Aurora Station goes into service immediately, bringing travelers into space quickly and at a lower price point than ever seen before.”
That lower price point at the moment is just under $10 million. First though, you will need to make an $80,000 deposit, which will be refunded should that $9.5 be just out of reach. Reserve your spot here!
When You Arrive
Because this is no normal hotel (in that it’s pretty much a station), you can’t fully customize the length of stay. Orion Span is offering a 12-day astronaut experience (that’s about $791,666 a night, if you’re keeping score) for 4 people at a time, with two crew members on board as well.
From there, you will have almost two weeks to float around the hotel, take selfies, and maybe watch Netflix, since there is a high-speed WiFi card available for video chatting with friends and family back home.
You won’t have the most room—and certainly not a lot of space, as it were—to wander about by yourself, it seems. Aurora measures 43.5 feet long by 14.1 feet wide, with a pressurized volume of 5,650 cubic feet.
What To Do
There aren’t too many activities listed just yet, but so far they include growing your own food and watching a ton of sunrises and sunsets daily, as the hotel will be orbiting the Earth every 90 minutes or so. I recommend bringing a book or two; consider this the luxe, futuristic alternative to reading at the beach.
Perusing the Orion Span site, though, some points do raise interesting questions. One wonders if you can gift someone a seat — which wow, is a really, really great gift. Unless, of course, you really don’t like the person, at which point you’re saying, “I can’t stand you to such an extent that I’m willing to spend $10 million to live two weeks on this planet without out.”
The site also mentions that there are private suites available for couples who take the trip. Because if you’re going into space with your partner, no doubt you’re going to want time for intimacy — think of the bragging rights that come with membership to the 200-mile-high club.
What’s more, the cost is also inclusive, but my question, of course, is: what’s the drink situation like? Is there wine in space? Is that even a good idea? And what are we eating? Food and drink are very important things to consider when traveling. Will there be gluten-free options?! We must know.
When You Get Back
You will presumably have been treated to a unique and life-changing experience. The founder says that when you return, you will be treated to “a hero’s welcome,” which I hope means something along the lines of what happened when the oil drillers from Armageddon landed back home after saving the world from that asteroid.
Still, none of this so far is exactly what M.I.T. students, tasked with envisioning an actual space hotel, came up with. Students at the school won a competition to design such a place for NASA, with the plan for it to replace the ISS when it closes. The students came up with a design that is essentially a space station surrounded by eight inflatable, individual pods or rooms. In their plan, there is a common area as well as a bar, restaurant, and gym.
But there is much more to come. Another private company, Axiom Space, has already announced that they will build their own space station for tourists to travel to in about six years, but in the meantime, they will begin taking adventurists to the ISS. Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic has plans to take people to sub-orbital space for about $250,000 at an unknown date. Russia also recently announced plans to open up a 5-star hotel in space in 2022, with pricier options for a space walk as well.
Oh, and of course, Orion Span has a plan for those who really enjoy the space hotel experience but wish it were longer: space condos.