Space tourists need not worry that the International Space Station will be demolished in the next few years: something even better is in the works. Orbiting 200 miles above the surface of planet Earth, space adventurers will soon be able to stay at a luxury space hotel – the Aurora Station.
Orion Span, the company behind this idea, promises that the “12-day adventure…will change your life.” The company’s mission is quite similar to of the goals of the space nation Asgardia: “to build and sustain human communities in space”. Asgardia also plans to eventually create settlements outside the planet Earth, and the space nation believes in equal access for all.
Frank Bunger, CEO of Orion Span, voices a similar idea – albeit for the future: “We’re proud to be at the leading edge of moving space travel forward, and our long-term goal remains to make it accessible to all”.
Aurora’s guests must undergo a three-month training program to gain understanding of spaceflight, orbital mechanics and pressurized environment. The Orion Span Astronaut Certification app is currently in development, with expected release in 2019. Hands-on training is to take place at the company’s training facility in Houston, Texas, and includes contingency training and weightlessness practice.
The company is already busy taking reservations: for $80,000 or the equivalent in cryptocurrency (including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin), one can reserve their future journey. The idea has already proven to be popular: in the first 72 hours after the Aurora Station announcement in April 2018, travelers from North America, Europe and the Middle East jumped on the possibility, fully reserving the first four months. The Aurora station is expected to host its first guests in 2022.
Behind the idea is the company’s team of space industry veterans with a combined 140 years of human space experience. Aurora, the first-ever modular space station, will host six people at a time: four guests and two crew members. For those seeking an unusual romantic getaway, there is a private suite for two. The price for the entire journey starts at $9.5 million per person.
The company believes in its mission. On their website, they proudly state: “We will not rest until our shared destiny in the stars has been realized”. Their selling proposition is that space travelers can achieve the milestone of space travel “for a fraction of the cost of a home-grown human spaceflight program”.
Orion Span does not plan to stop with the Aurora Station’s current architecture. It is designed in a way that enables the company to stack up its architectural structure in an unprecedented way. According to the company’s website, “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”.
The company is not stopping there. It plans to roll out the newest concept in space yet: space condos for purchase. “This is an exciting frontier and Orion Span is proud to pave the way”, says Bunger.