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HomeUncategorizedFirst-ever space hotel to be launched in 2027

First-ever space hotel to be launched in 2027

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A vacation conjures up images of pristine beaches, glittering ski slopes, outstretched highways, and theme parks. It doesn’t immediately conjure up images of cosmic journeys on colossal rotating wheels or vistas defined by the long arc of Earth’s surface, but it might soon.

Orbital Assembly Corporation (AOC), a Sacramento start-up, has announced plans to open a space hotel by 2027 to accommodate such a trip. Voyager Station, the first of its kind, is planned to be a luxury resort for 280 guests and 112 crew members, complete with a restaurant, a bar, a concert hall, a gym, and even a cinema.

This may sounds strange, however, Tim Alatorre, OAC’s vice president and the hotel’s architect, understands. He insists, it won’t be long before such talk becomes commonplace.

“I think it’s going to be a normal thing, where your mom went to space, your dad went to space,” he says. “Being an astronaut is not going to be a novel thing anymore, because everyone has done it.”

Six decades later, the Space Age is steadily progressing into its commercial phase, with an increasing number of private individuals being able to purchase passage beyond Earth’s atmosphere. Billionaires Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson have paid to cross or arrive at the Kármán line, which separates our atmosphere from outer space, in recent months.

Aside from a growing clientele of the caliber of Bezos and Branson, the era of full-fledged pleasure trips to space appears to be on the horizon, even for a multi-day escape.

Space Gateway

Voyager’s basic structure draws on a century of theorizing about how to colonize the final frontier. The concept of the rotating wheel was proposed in the early 1900s as a way to generate artificial gravity. Thanks to the centrifugal force it produces, Voyager visitors will be able to move about normally. Or, as OAC puts it on its website: “We provide gravity”.

At first, its gravity will be similar to that of the Moon, about one-sixth that of Earth. That equates to about a revolution and a half per minute. According to Alatorre, they hope to spin it up to Mars level (a third of Earth’s gravity) and eventually replicate our home planet’s weightiness. However, because there has been little research on how humans adapt to artificial gravity, they want to better understand their guests’ physiology before increasing the g-force.

After blasting off from Earth, guests will arrive at a central, zero-gravity docking hub. It’s only there, at the edge of the wheel, that the centrifugal force will be strong enough to keep guests firmly grounded. People with disabilities will face fewer physical barriers, while the able-bodied will find themselves capable of otherworldly athletic feats.

Guests will be able to enjoy live music, lift heavy weights and practice slam dunks, and taste traditional astro-fry alongside world cuisines. In renderings of the station, as guests mill about a sparse, futuristic interior, they are typically gazing out the windows. Each scene is a variation on the same surreal theme: a fraction of Earth’s gargantuan frame, blue and green and white, curving against an interstellar void.

The price of being an astronaut

On its website, the company encourages potential clients to “be one of the first humans to vacation on a luxury space station.” “Make history as one of the first humans in history to own real estate in orbit.” The site advertises short- and long-term leases for “luxury villas, commercial, retail, and industrial space”—pun perhaps intended. They’re already in negotiations with booking agents.

Who are those potential clients? After all, the going rate for an out-of-this-world trip is still exorbitant; for example, Oliver Daemen paid $28 million for a seat beside Bezos in space, and that’s historically speaking, the lower end. For now such travel is the prerogative of the uber-wealthy.

But, Alatorre says, “We want to make this an easy choice. If you want to go to Paris for a week or you want to go to space for a week, we want it to be a question of preference, not of money.” Though he wouldn’t discuss prices in detail, he says the goal is for a stay on Voyager to rival a cruise ticket.

Relatively speaking, he says, “the resort is cheap, it’s the flight that’s expensive.” And with the development of more efficient launching systems — like the Starship rocket and Super Heavy booster from Elon Musk’s aerospace manufacturer, SpaceX — the cost of every pound flown into orbit will decline. In industry parlance, transportation won’t be quite so “mass-constrained.” Alatorre goes so far as to suggest the hotel could be significantly more accessible within a decade.

Possible or Not?

If a project of this magnitude seems ambitious, well, it is. SpaceX, which does not yet have any ties to AOC, gave the startup a shoutout on Instagram in March, ending on a note of uncertainty. “Maybe @spacex can offer a two way ticket by the time it’s finished?” the post reads, referencing Voyager. “We are curious to see if this plan will become a reality or not.”

Alatorre acknowledges that partners and investors are understandably wary. On the other hand, all indications point to a rapid expansion of space commerce. OAC is no longer the only player in the game; as the 23-year-old International Space Station (ISS) — the most likely tourism venue currently in orbit — approaches the end of its life, several companies hope to fill the void with their own ventures.

OAC has completed architectural work for the “Gravity Ring,” a miniature of the wheel design, and “Pioneer stations” with just a few habitation modules. These prototypes will allow the company to test its technologies before the final assembly of Voyager. Alatorre says he’s confident in the theoretical and mechanical soundness of the space hotel concept.

“We are committed to this, and we’ve invested our lives and our fortunes into making this a reality,” Alatorre says. “There’s nothing technologically standing in our way. It’s just a question of time and money, and we can overcome those.”

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