The first luxury space hotel will open to civilian astronauts in 2022
A space technology startup called Orion Span recently announced plans for its Aurora Station, expecting to launch in 2021 and begin hosting tourists by 2022. Visitors aboard Aurora Station would be able to enjoy Wi-Fi, weightlessness, a virtual reality experience on the holodeck, growing food in zero gravity and an authentic astronaut experience.
“We developed Aurora Station to provide a turnkey destination in space,” Frank Bunger, chief executive officer and founder of Orion Span, said in a statement. “Our goal is to make space accessible to all by continuing to drive greater value at lower cost.” A trip to Aurora Station will start at $9.5 million; quite a bit less than the estimated $20 million to $40 million private citizens paid for trips to the International Space Station between 2001 and 2009. The fully modular space station will host six people at a time, including two crew members, for 12-day trips of space travel. During their 12-day adventure, the travelers will fly at a height of 200 miles above the Earth’s surface in Low Earth Orbit, or LEP, where they will witness incredible views of the blue planet. While enjoying the thrills of zero gravity, the travelers will be able to float freely through the hotel, taking in views of the northern and southern aurora from the station’s windows. See the main points of the space tourist program and the science and research programs from the Orion Span’s website below:
For the Space Tourist:
- Mission – Orion Span’s mission is to build and sustain human communities in space. Through technological innovation, Orion Span cuts the cost of living in space by an order of magnitude over others. We will not rest until our shared destiny in the stars has been realized.
- Authentic Astronaut Experience – Believe you were meant for something special? Join us aboard Aurora Station for a 12-day adventure that will change your life. Experience the thrill of zero gravity, watch the aurora borealis, grow food in space, or dive into our holodeck, for the world’s only authentic astronaut experience.
- See hundreds of sunrises and sunsets – Every 90 minutes we complete an orbit, meaning you’ll see day & night over Earth hundreds of times during your 12-day stay, with ample opportunity to photograph your hometown from space.
- Training & Orion Span Astronaut Certification – Orion Span has taken what was historically a 24 month training program and streamlined it to 3 months. Early certification units are theory-oriented and completed on your own pace using the Orion Span Astronaut Certification (OSAC) App or your computer. The goal of these units is to gain an understanding of basic spaceflight, orbital mechanics, and of pressurized environments in space. The OSAC App is currently in development and expected to be released in 2019. Mid certification units are in person exercises conducted at our Training Facility in Houston, Texas. In person training begins no later than 3 months prior to launch to Aurora Station. Emphasis in these units is on successful understanding of spacecraft systems, contingency training and weightlessness practice. The final certification modules are completed during your stay on Aurora Station. Orion Span Astronaut Certification full certification is complete after your first stay on Aurora Station. Training and OSAC is included as part of your stay on Aurora Station. OSAC may be recognized as a form of training with other space entities as well.
- Own A Piece of Space: Orbital Space Condos – Orion Span’s proprietary architecture enables us to “stack up” Aurora Station in a way that has never been done before in space station design. Like a city rising from the ground, this unique architecture enables us to build up Aurora Station in orbit dynamically – on the fly – and with no impact to the remainder of Aurora Station. As we add capacity, we will design condos available for purchase.
Science & Research:
- Space Agency Astronauts – Do you work for a Space Agency that looks to the capability of human spaceflight in orbit, but are many years away from it? Aboard Aurora Station, you can achieve this milestone for a fraction the cost of a home grown human spaceflight program. And your agency will get there paying only for what you use aboard Aurora Station; we take care of the rest.
- Microgravity Research – Research in zero gravity (aka microgravity) represents some of the most exciting unlocked potential for all humankind. Orion Span strongly supports the core mission of microgravity research to underpin the remarkable discoveries awaiting us in a zero gravity environment. We are therefore subsidizing the cost to host research for qualifying institutions.
- Space Manufacturing – Space Manufacturing represents an exciting frontier in producing more pristine results in a zero gravity environment than is possible on Earth. Aurora Station leases capacity to in situ manufacturing organizations and 3D printing research. Whether using resources brought to LEO or future captured resources such as asteroids, Aurora Station enables easy pay-as-you-go capacity to use in situ manufacturing capacity and process resources into valuable metals, spacecraft and more.
Even though the space hotel is 4 years out, Orion Span is already taking fully refundable deposits of $80,000 to secure your space. Space travel and space condos; soon we will be living in the world of The Fifth Element, I can’t wait for the space cruise ships! If you aren’t quite ready to branch out into space travel just yet, there are other more ‘down to earth’ experiences available, like:
- The ZERO-G Experience™ – an amazing opportunity to experience true weightlessness. ZERO-G’s modified Boeing 727-200, G-FORCE ONE™, performs parabolic arcs to create a weightless environment allowing you to float, flip and soar as if you were in space.
- Experience true weightlessness
- Flights available in cities across the US (Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, San Francisco)
- Private flights available
- Skydiving – Depending on your skillset, skydiving is a great way to test out all the flips you could do in outer space until your parachute opens up.
- Scuba Diving – Being completely submerged in water is similar to being in outer space: you can float around weightlessly, do backflips, and hold weird poses without falling. You are free from the limitations of gravity to some extent.
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