Orion Span Launches First-Ever Luxury Space Hotel

Aurora Station interior

"We are launching the first-ever affordable luxury space hotel", said Orion Span founder and CEO Frank Bunger, who unveiled the Aurora Station idea today (April 5) at the Space 2.0 Summit in San Jose, California.

Deep-pocketed daredevils can now reserve a spot on Aurora Station, billed as the first-ever "luxury space hotel".

The Aurora Station will measure around 43 feet long by 14 feet wide, according to the company, and will orbit the Earth at an altitude of around 200 miles (for comparison, the ISS orbits at an altitude of 250 miles).

And while the cost of the 12-day trip is £6.7 million, keen passengers will be required to place down an £57,129 deposit up front.

"We're not selling a hey-let's-go-to-the-beach equivalent in space", Bunger said. Orion Span is also requiring an $80,000 refundable deposit to book a stay, which you can put down beginning today. Guests will experience zero gravity, see Earth's northern and southern aurora, and take part in research experiments like growing food in orbit. "So, either for living or subleasing, that's the future vision here - to create a long-term, sustainable human habitation in LEO [low Earth orbit]".

Orion Span says it hasn't yet secured a contract with a launch provider, like SpaceX so its launch timeline may be a little ambitious.

Orion Span's chief architect and operating and chief technical officers are former Nasa employees.

However, it claims to have "developed proprietary technology to drive a full order of magnitude of cost out of the design and manufacture of a space station".

One reason Orion Span can target a price of less than US$10 million per person is because of declining launch prices, Bunger said in an interview. "Almost every week there's another rocket launch company that's starting up with a new way to get to orbit cheaper, faster, better". Orion Span is also advertising to other groups in the field of space research, such as government agencies, and organizations interested in space manufacturing-a field which promises to enable industrial processes that can not be realized on Earth.

Travelling to space is on the bucket list of many, even if they're not (and can't be) an astronaut.

Mr Bunger told Forbes: "We have a virtual reality experience, what we call the holodeck, named after Star Trek".

Prospective customers will also be subjected to a three-month training regime at an Orion Span facility in Houston, Texas, to ensure the safety of guests on board.

A new destination is soon to become accessible for holidaymakers - a luxury hotel in space.

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