2022: A Space Odyssey
Plans for the first-ever luxury space hotel have been unveiled by tech start-up Orion Span, with the Aurora Station set to open its landing bay doors for paying punters in 2022.
The (by its very nature) exclusive hotel will host six people at a time, including two crew members, with a 12-day stay starting at – ahem – $9.5M per person.
Deposits are now being accepted for a future stay on Aurora Station, which is slated to launch in late 2021 and host its first guests a year later. The fully refundable deposit is $80,000 per person and can be reserved online.
It won’t be quite as simple as packing your bags and taking a taxi to the space port – Prior to take-off, those set to travel on Aurora Station will take a three-month Orion Span Astronaut Certification (OSAC). Phase one of the certification program is done online, with the next portion completed in-person at Orion Span’s training facility in Houston, Texas. The final certification is completed during a traveler’s stay on Aurora Station.
Step Into The Holodeck
In terms of the design and experience, Orion Span says travelers will enjoy the exhilaration of zero gravity and fly freely throughout Aurora Station, see the northern and southern lights, take part in research experiments such as growing food while in orbit (which they can take home with them as the ultimate souvenir), enjoy a virtual reality experience on the holodeck, and stay in touch or live stream with their loved ones back home via high-speed wireless internet access.
Aurora Station guests will travel 200 miles above the Earth’s surface in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), completing a pass around the entire planet every 90 minutes, meaning those aboard will see an average of 16 sunrises and sunsets every 24 hours.
The company’s leadership team includes Chief Executive Officer Frank Bunger, who is a serial entrepreneur and technology start-up executive credited with multiple startups under his belt; Chief Technology Officer David Jarvis – a lifelong entrepreneur, human spaceflight engineer, and payload developer with breadth and depth in the management and operations of the International Space Station (ISS); Chief Architect Frank Eichstadt, who is an industrial designer and space architect credited with being the principal architect on the ISS Enterprise module; and Chief Operating Officer Marv LeBlanc – a former general manager and program manager with decades of executive space experience running operations and mission control.
“We developed Aurora Station to provide a turnkey destination in space. Upon launch, Aurora Station goes into service immediately, bringing travelers into space quicker and at a lower price point than ever seen before, while still providing an unforgettable experience,” said Bunger. “Orion Span has additionally 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. Our goal is to make space accessible to all, by continuing to drive greater value at lower cost.”
“Aurora Station is incredibly versatile and has multiple uses beyond serving as a hotel,” Bunger added. “We will offer full charters to space agencies who are looking to achieve human spaceflight in orbit for a fraction of the cost – and only pay for what they use. We will support zero gravity research, as well as in space manufacturing. Our architecture is such that we can easily add capacity, enabling us to grow with market demand like a city growing skyward on Earth. We will later sell dedicated modules as the world’s first condominiums in space. Future Aurora owners can live in, visit, or sublease their space condo. This is an exciting frontier and Orion Span is proud to pave the way.”