A hotel with an out-of-this-world view is now taking reservations — for $9.5 million per person.
Would-be space tourists have been waiting for years for the chance to finally take their dream vacation: orbiting around our little, blue planet. Now, that dream is close to becoming a reality. Thursday, during the Space 2.0 Summit in San Jose, California, Orion Span introduced its space hotel, Aurora Station, and announced that it is officially open for reservations. It’s planned to launch in 2021 and accept guests beginning in 2022.
Orion Span’s proposed modular space station can host six people at a time, including two crew members. While in the station, guests can enjoy the astronaut experience during a 12-day journey, soaring 200 miles above the Earth’s surface in Low Earth Orbit. Guests will experience zero gravity, see Earth’s northern and southern aurora, and take part in research experiments like growing food in orbit.
The hotel circles Earth every 90 minutes, giving guests a chance to catch 16 sunrises and sunsets every 24 hours.
Of course, a reservation for this once-in-a-lifetime experience isn’t going to be cheap. Reservations on Aurora start at $9.5 million per person, and the company is accepting refundable deposits of $80,000 to get on the reservation waitlist.
Frank Bunger, chief executive officer and founder of Orion Span, said that the price point is lower than most other people have paid to go to space. “We developed Aurora Station to provide a turnkey destination in space,” he said in a statement, “bringing travelers into space quicker and at a lower price point than ever seen before, while still providing an unforgettable experience.”
The company has apparently streamlined the process of preparing guests for space travel from a customary year-long regimen to just three months with the Orion Span Astronaut Certification (OSAC). The first phase of the certification program is done online and the second is completed in-person at a training facility in Houston, Texas. The final certification is completed during a traveler’s stay on Aurora Station.
Beyond being a hotel, the station will also be a site for research and future planning. “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,” said Bunger. “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.”
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While it sounds spectacular-bordering-on-insane, Orion Span isn’t the only company working on a space hotel. Earlier this year, Bigelow Space Operations (owned by billionaire Robert Bigelow) announced plans for an inflatable space hotel to launch by 2021.