Space tourism just took a step towards reality with a US company announcing plans to open a luxury space hotel in 2021.
The ambitious Aurora Station project was revealed by Orion Span at Space 2.0 Summit in California and has room for six people – which includes two crew members.
The hotel aims to offer a “completely authentic, once-in-a-lifetime astronaut experience”, allowing guests to take in spectacular views of the Earth while experiencing zero gravity.
The station, which is expected to launch in three years with passengers set to be welcomed in 2022, will take space travellers on a 12-day odyssey where they will witness around 16 sunrises and sunsets a day.
Soaring 200 miles above the Earth’s surface, the guests will also have a chance to take part in research experiments such as growing food in orbit and trying out virtual reality technology.
High-speed internet will allow people to post some truly incredible Instagram-worthy photos and stories.
Frank Bunger, chief executive and founder of Orion Span, said: “We developed Aurora Station to provide a turnkey destination in space.
“Upon launch, Aurora Station goes into service immediately, bringing travellers into space quicker and at a lower price point than ever seen before, while still providing an unforgettable experience.”
He said the aim is to make space “accessible to all”, although a trip to the Aurora Station will set you back a whopping 9.5 million dollars (around £6.8 million, which amounts to £567,000 a night) – which includes an initial 80,000 dollar (£57,000) deposit online to secure a place.
Those keen to make the journey will have to take part in a three-month training regime which includes spending time at the company’s training facility in Houston, Texas.
However, Mr Bunger says the project has more to it than providing an out-of-this-world holiday experience.
He said: “Aurora Station is incredibly versatile and has multiple uses beyond serving as a hotel.
“We will offer full charters to space agencies who are looking to achieve human spaceflight in orbit for a fraction of the cost – and only pay for what they use.
“We will support zero gravity research, as well as in-space manufacturing.
“Our architecture is such that we can easily add capacity, enabling us to grow with market demand like a city growing skyward on Earth.”