As our planet battles through one of the more trying periods in our history, a handful of humans around the planet are continuing to look out into space and imagine new possibilities. Such as an Earth-orbiting space hotel…
Orbital Assembly’s Space Hotel
Space tourism ‘very, very lucrative’
As reported by Washington Post, Orbital Assembly is one such group with the company aiming to have its first space hotel operational by 2026.
This is a year later than they had initially planned, but Orbital Assembly CEO John Blincow is confident that they can assemble the Voyager Station that will be the home of the proposed hotel in a year or two. Blincow said:
“It’s going to happen fast when it starts. And we believe it’s going to happen a lot, too, even before we finish the first one. We have buyers for other stations because they’re very, very lucrative.”
As you can imagine, a trip to a commercial space station is going to require a bit more preparation than your annual trek down to Durban for your December break.
Space hotels: Not your regular tourist trip
Space tourists will need to complete safety and physical training before they will be allowed to board the SpaceX Starship and travel to Voyager station.
The Station itself will be designed to house 280 guests and 112 crew. The Voyager station crew will be made up of hospitality crew as well as scientists conducting low-gravity research. Blincow explained:
“It’s a historic moment. You’re going to have the top chefs making really, really good food. And when you pay $5 million to go someplace, it’s not going to be burgers and fries.”
With the first trips to the space hotel set to cost in the region of $5 million for 3.5 days orbiting the earth, it makes sense that this will be positioned as a truly premium experience.
Pros and cons of vacationing in space
Voyager station will be a rotating structure with artificial gravity to save tourists the unpleasant side effects of life at zero gravity. As a result, visitors will be able to eat, drink and bathe, usually while visiting the space hotel.
The space hotel will also sport a gymnasium where visitors and exercise and enjoy the lunar gravity on the Voyager station. Lunar gravity would mean that visitors would be able to jump five times higher than they would on earth.
In addition, it’s planned to have musicians and entertainers travel up to the space hotel and entertain the guests with two shows a night planned.
As crazy as all that sounds, though, the highlight of the experience will be an actual spacewalk with visitors allowed to leave the space station and experience space with nothing but a suit and faceplate between them and the broad expanse of space.
For now, a holiday in space will be seen as a luxury experience aimed at the super-rich, but Blincow believes that holidays in space could be a reality for everyone as the prices drop over time.
SpaceX paving the way
In other space news, Elon Musk’s SpaceX this week tested its Starship SN10 rocket prototype which they hope will be chosen by NASA to return astronauts to the moon in 2024.
While the prototype completed a successful high-altitude test flight, a belly flop and a near-perfect upright, vertical landing, the rocket burst into flames eight minutes later. The footage can be viewed here.
While some might see this as a failure, Musk explained after a previous explosion back in December 2020 that the data obtained from the test flight is valuable, and will be used to improve future prototypes.
Moreover, SpaceX’s testing will eventually open up the door to more opportunities for humankind and our holiday options.