Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 23 May 2019

World’s first space hotel takes one small step towards completion

Holidaymakers will be able to vacation 200 miles about the Earth's surface come 2023

The world's first luxury hotel Aurora Station is hoping to welcome its first holidaymakers in 2023. Courtesy Orion Span
The world's first luxury hotel Aurora Station is hoping to welcome its first holidaymakers in 2023. Courtesy Orion Span

When it comes to holidays, many of us book our next stay based on various factors. Things like where the hotel is, whether room rates are good value, how many swimming pools there are and what the food is like. But guests considering a stay at the Aurora Station will have to decide whether the hotel’s location, 200 miles above Earth, makes it the right pick for them.

Booked out for the first four months after its proposed opening date in 2023, the luxury space hotel has seen bookings roll in from the Middle East, North America and Europe. Each of these early birds has paid an $80,000 deposit to secure a slot on the 12-day holiday but the total cost will be $9.5 million per person.

The hotel is being developed by US-based space technology start-up Orion Span and progress has already started on the station which will be 14 metres in length. When complete, it will be able to accommodate four guests at a time, plus two space crew members.

Spectacular views

Once checked-in passengers will witness no less than 16 sunsets and sunrises during the 12-day vacation with the vessel set to lap around the planet every 90 minutes. Giant portholes will give space tourists otherworldly vistas to gaze out at, including spectacular views of the northern and southern lights.

Gourmet food will be on the menu as the company plans to partner with chefs and restaurants to develop space food that’s as tasty as the limited cooking facilities will allow. Specially-developed Aurora Station Space grape beverage will be served with dinner. Post-dinner naps will take place in sleekly designed sleeping pods.

Space holidaymakers will relax in sleek sleeping pods on the Aurora Station.  Courtesy Orion Span
Space holidaymakers will relax in sleek sleeping pods on the Aurora Station.  Courtesy Orion Span

Pre-holiday prep

In order to prepare for the trip, would-be guests first need to undergo a training programme where they’ll prepare for showering, eating and sleeping in a zero-gravity environment. Once on board, they’ll take part in daily training sessions and have the opportunity to get involved in space-related research projects. And while there will be no gravity on board, there will be no complaints about the Wi-Fi which will be unlimited.

The project was first announced in 2018, but earlier this month the first interior renderings were released, edging the project a step closer to competition.

A $50,000 flat-rate commission for travel agents booking customers on the trip has led to a sustained interest in the destination from travel professionals.

Raising funds

Orion Span listed the project on crowdfunding platform Seed Invest earlier this month in a bid to seek funds to help advance design work, begin prototyping and expand the company’s staff base. Potential investors were informed that they could own a piece of the space tourism industry, which is expected to reach $1.27 billion by 2023 when the International Space Station (ISS) will retire.

Nasa has encouraged private companies to prepare to take over the vacuum that will be left by the closure of the ISS after its 34 years in orbit. This will allow the agency to focus its efforts on further space exploration.

As well as functioning as a hotel, Aurora Station will also serve as a host for space manufacturing and government projects.

While progress continues on the project, the company has not yet announced its launch provider meaning the world's first luxury space hotel still has a giant leap to conquer before it opens its doors to holidaymakers.

Updated: January 28, 2019 02:39 PM

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