A hotel with an out-of-this-world view is now taking reservations — but it’ll cost you.
Would-be space tourists have been waiting for years for the chance to finally take their dream vacation of 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.
While it sounds spectacular-bordering-on-insane, Orion Span isn’t the only company working on a space hotel. Just earlier this year, Bigelow Space Operations (of billionaire Robert Bigelow) announced plans for an inflatable space hotel to launch by 2021.
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.
— Orion Span (@OrionSpan) April 5, 2018
The hotel orbits Earth every 90 minutes, giving guests a view of 16 sunrises and sunsets every 24 hours.
Of course, a reservation for such a 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.
Once the station is closer to opening, the company will be contacting guests on the waitlist to discuss potential dates. The station is planned to launch in late 2021 and host its first guests in 2022.
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.”
If $9.5 million is out of your price range, the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore has a slightly more affordable option: a space-themed suite starting at $488 a night. And if you really must go to a galaxy far, far away, there’s always the upcoming Star Wars Hotel, opening at Disney World in 2019.