May 03, 2019 07:44 AM EDT
Orion Span, a Houston-based company, is looking to put the world's first luxury hotel in space by 2021, followed by its first guests the following year. The hotel will accommodate up to six vacationers and two crew members at a time, speeding them around the planet at high speeds for almost two weeks, the company said in a news release.
Travelers pay 9.5 million dollars per person or about 791,666 dollars a night-and their 80,000-dollar deposit can now be reserved online, company officials said. But don't worry: The deposit is said to be fully refundable. "We want to get people into space because it's the final frontier for our civilization," Orion Span's founder and chief executive, Frank Bunger said.
Bunger said that one reason Orion Span can aim for a price of less than 10 million dollars per person is because of the declining price of launches. "Everybody's forecasting that [launch prices are] going to fall," he said. "Almost every week, there's another rocket-launch company that's starting up with a new way to get to orbit cheaper, faster, better."
Up to six guests at a time will get to live out astronaut dreams in four-star style. "Guests will be orbiting in the hotel at 200 miles above the surface experiencing zero gravity the entire time," Bunger said. "We are also going to be doing real space research up there like growing food in space, which we will let our guests take home as a souvenir. Then we will have a virtual reality experience, what we call the holodeck, named after Star Trek." Orion Span's proposed hotel offers plenty of attractions: zero-gravity flying throughout the station, views of patrons' home towns from space and live-streams with friends and family at home through high-speed Internet.
Since commercial spaceflight has yet to launch humans into space, Aurora Station visitors will have three months of training, which would begin with online courses to better understand "basic spaceflight, orbital mechanics, and pressurized environments in space," officials stated. The guests will also have contingency training at the company's headquarters in Houston.
"Orion Span has [...] taken what was historically a 24-month training regimen to prepare travelers to visit a space station and streamlined it to three months, at a fraction of the cost," company officials said. "Our goal is to make space accessible to all, by continuing to drive greater value at a lower cost."
If this sounds like something you may want to try, you would also need to prepare for your circadian rhythm-a 24-hour cycle in the physiological processes of living beings-to go completely haywire. The hotel will complete an orbit of the earth every 90 minutes, so travelers will see 16 sunrises every 24 hours.
Bunger, a former software engineer, said in a statement that the experience won't be for everyone. The Aurora Station will mainly cater to those who are passionate about space and astronomical study. Orion Span's announcement of a luxury hotel in space comes during a revival of the commercial space industry. The launch of Elon Musk's Falcon Heavy from the Kennedy Space Center in February, for example, was the latest in a series of milestones that have renewed companies' interest in space.
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