It’s happening. . .the bucket list item wannabe astronauts have been waiting for: a space ship hotel! Aurora Station—developed by Orion Span, a space technology company—will have room for four guests and two crew members on a 12-day trip cruising 200 miles above our planet in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). Named for the luminous streamers in the upper atmosphere, Aurora Station will orbit Earth every 90 minutes, allowing guests to view about 16 sunrises and sunsets every 24 hours. That’s hundreds of days and nights over Earth! Hotel guests will enjoy a complete astronaut experience. “Our goal is to make space accessible to all,” said Frank Bunger, chief executive officer and founder of Orion Span.
Inside Aurora Station
Besides seeing incredible views of outer space from the craft’s multiple windows, space travelers will be weightless and able to fly like Peter Pan from room to room throughout the hotel. No need for space suits in the zero gravity environment.
There will be private suites, configured to accommodate a family of four, two couples or four individuals. “Aurora Station will be fully modular and reconfigurable on the fly,” said Bunger. “Historically, people sleep in sleeping bags in zero gravity. We’re planning something somewhat similar, although it will be a far more premium experience.”
Most of the meals will be the same food astronauts eat. “We will have high-quality freeze-dried entrees and snacks. We will also be growing our own food at the station and will allow guests to incorporate these ingredients into their meals for a really special, ultimate astronaut experience,” explained Bunger. (Remember Matt Damon growing potatoes in The Martian?) A take-home box of space-grown food trumps a T-shirt souvenir any day! To prove you are there, a fast wireless internet connection will be available so guests can instantly stream their experience with folks back home.
Certification for Aurora Station
As you might imagine, all guests will be required to become certified to travel on the space hotel. They must go through a three-month training program, with much of it done online. The rest will be done at Orion Span’s training center in Houston, Texas and during the actual flight. When completed, they will receive the Orion Span Astronaut Certification that can qualify them for other space travel in the future.
Who Can Travel on Aurora Station
Guests need to be fit and fearless to travel in space. “All travelers will undergo a mandatory health screening,” said Bunger. “We’re currently defining what this will entail, so I can’t share any specifics yet,” he said. “Due to equipment sizing and strain on the body for the rocket launch to orbit (up to 3G acceleration), there will be a minimum age requirement. We’re currently working with partners to determine what that lower bound should be. There will be no upper bound.” Space flight for seniors?
What Will Aurora Station Cost
The 12-day journey is a $9.5 million per person investment. Deposits are being accepted now for the inaugural trip slated for 2022 following the first launch in late 2021. If you get cold feet, you can get your deposit of $80,000 refunded.
“Upon launch, Aurora Station goes into service immediately, bringing travelers into space quicker and at a lower price point than ever seen before,” Bunger said.
Who Developed Aurora Station
Besides Bunger—a serial entrepreneur and technology start-up executive credited with multiple startups—the team at Orion Span includes Chief Technology Officer David Jarvis, a lifelong entrepreneur, human spaceflight engineer and payload developer with breadth and depth in the management and operations of the International Space Station (ISS); Chief Architect Frank Eichstadt, an industrial designer and principal architect on the ISS Enterprise module; and Chief Operating Officer Marv LeBlanc, former general manager and program manager with decades of executive space experience running operations and mission control. The company’s mission is to build and sustain human communities in space. Future plans include celestial condos for sale and lease.
For more information or to make a reservation with a deposit, visit www.OrionSpan.com
Claudia Carbone is an award-winning travel writer based in Denver. Read about other hotels she’s visited in Sleepin’ Around.