Ever dreamt of becoming an astronaut? For the right price, tourists can soon experience basic spaceflight training when the first luxury space hotel opens in the low-Earth orbit by 2022.
Last Thursday, April 5, aerospace startup Orion Span formally announced the Aurora Station which will offer 12-day basic astronaut training for $9.5 million. This already includes the flight to the hotel and of course, fresh towels.
In contrast to similar packages by other companies, Orion Span's deal can be considered as relatively cheaper. For instance, SpaceX currently charges more than $40 million just to fly passengers to the International Space Station using its reusable rockets.
"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," says Orion Span's founder and chief executive Frank Bunger in a news release.
An Instagram-Worthy Space Vacation In Aurora Station
Basically, the hotel will be a cylindrical structure fitted inside the body of a rocket. It can accommodate up to four guests, as well as two retired astronauts serving as crew members.
According to a report, the Aurora Station is designed to complete an orbit every 90 minutes. This means that travelers can enjoy viewing both day and night in various parts of the world for more than a hundred times in 24 hours.
Additionally, guests will have access to a holodeck providing virtual reality experiences for entertainment. High-speed Wi-Fi is also available on board in case they want to share their out-of-this-world vacation over social media.
As for the interior design, Bunger revealed that his startup's main goal is to make the space hotel facility spacious. Most existing spacecrafts are cluttered with different systems and controls, but the Aurora Station is aiming to be different with its clean and ultra-modern look.
In a separate report, he explains that they chose such architectural design to make expansion easier in the future.
Astronaut Training Before And During Space Travel
Besides the 12-day course that will be conducted on board, hotels guests are required to undergo the first two stages of the Orion Span Astronaut Certification (OSAC) program for three months prior flying to the orbital hotel.
The first stage can be conveniently completed over the internet, while the next one must be accomplished personally at the startup's own training center in their Houston, Texas headquarters. Travelers will only complete the final stage of their OSAC training after successfully staying in the planet's orbit for 12 days.
Guests are traveling to the Aurora Station through a rocket but it's still unclear whether Orion Span will use one owned by Elon Musk. The startup is still in talks with SpaceX, Blue Origin, and other private space companies to determine who to partner up with for such space tourism business.
Development of the very first space hotel will begin in 2019. For the meantime, interested travelers can already make reservations via the company's official website. An initial payment of $80,000 is required to secure a 12-day stay in the Aurora Station.