The first fully modular space station to ever debut, Aurora Station will operate as the first luxury hotel in space. The exclusive hotel will host six people at a time, including two crew members.
Space travelers will enjoy a completely authentic, once-in-a-lifetime astronaut experience with extraordinary adventure during their 12-day journey, starting at $9.5M per person. Aurora Station is slated to launch in late 2021 and host its first guests in 2022.
During their stay on Aurora Station, travelers will enjoy the exhilaration of zero gravity and fly freely throughout Aurora Station, gaze at the northern and southern aurora through the many windows, soar over their hometowns, take part in research experiments such as growing food while in orbit (which they can take home with them as the ultimate souvenir), revel in a virtual reality experience on the holodeck, and stay in touch or live stream with their loved ones back home via high-speed wireless Internet access. While in space, Aurora Station guests will soar 200 miles above the Earth’s surface in Low Earth Orbit, or LEO, where they will find stunning views of the Earth.
The hotel will orbit Earth every 90 minutes, meaning those aboard will see an average of 16 sunrises and sunsets every 24 hours. On return to Earth, guests will be treated to a hero’s welcome home.
To understand the new defining moment that we have arrived at today, let’s take a brief trip back in time to understand the journey that brought us here. Look back into the late 1970s.
By then, the rapid charge into space from the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions had evolved into a new dream. At that unique crossroads in history – and with the Space Race fading over the horizon – a new era of international cooperation between former enemies was dawning.
It was the first time in human history that former sworn enemies – who had fought a vicious war only 30 years earlier – came together to do something that critics said was impossible and that the world had never seen before: an internationally-shared and governed space station in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The agreements themselves were a remarkable validation of our shared humanity- we weren’t just Americans, Canadians, Europeans, Japanese, or Russians, we were all human beings from a pale blue dot. We shared a natural drive and curiosity. We wanted to make sense of the vast universe around us. We wanted to begin to realize our destiny in the stars. These were the origins of the International Space Station (ISS).
The ISS became and continues to be a remarkable feat of human engineering. It is the 8th wonder of the world.
It hosts hundreds of scientific investigations per year from dozens of nations. It continues to give rise to new discoveries and even entire new areas of science like human space studies- critical for us to deeply understand as we extend human civilization beyond our birthplace.
Today, the progression of space up to the ISS has led us to a new defining moment. With technologically-driven innovation improving LEO access rapidly, costs falling, and learnings from the ISS, the time has now come to build permanent commercially-viable orbital communities.
Orion Span will carry on the phenomenal pioneering done by the ISS into the realm of permanent commercially-viable orbital communities. A place where market forces drive outcomes and LEO endeavors must “live” to be sustainable. Then, the exceptional talents & capabilities of NASA, ESA, JAXA, and Roscosmos – that gave birth to LEO – can continue to push the boundaries of human potential in our solar system and beyond, one day giving rise to new human communities in far distant destinations and other possibilities that we can’t even yet imagine.
To that end, Orion Span has developed proprietary technology to drive a full order of magnitude of cost out of the design & manufacture of space station. We’re proud to announce Aurora Station – our first orbital community – will launch in late 2021 as the world’s first luxury space hotel. By early 2022, we will be hosting tourists, astronauts, space research, and manufacturing on board Aurora Station in LEO.
There are a few trends coming together that are fueling global excitement about space.
1) Commercial Activity. Trailblazers like SpaceX have proven there is a commercially-viable means to operate efficiently and profitably in a realm that used to be the sole domain of government.
2) Technological Innovation. What used to take 50kg of electronics equipment now fits into the size and mass of a quarter.
3) Launch costs are decreasing, and set to decrease further. Nearly every week a new launch player starts up, each with their own way to reach LEO cheaper, better, and faster.
4) Investment activity. Interest in space ventures has increased several fold the last few years.
This potpourri of trends is combining to fuel rapid development of commercial space startups and opportunities. The Bank of America estimates that economic activity in space will reach $3 trillion by 2040.
A cutaway diagram shows the interior of Aurora Station. The module would measure 43.5 feet long and 14.1 feet in diameter.
Orion Span says its hotel habitat, dubbed Aurora Station, will be about the size of a large private jet’s cabin, with 5,650 cubic feet of pressurized space. It’ll accommodate up to six residents at a time, including two professional crew members.
The flight plan calls for the module to be launched into a 200-mile-high orbit in late 2021, and host its first guests in 2022.
Guests would go through three months of pre-flight training, including an online certification program and in-person training at a facility in Houston. They’d then be launched to Aurora Station to spend 12 days in space.
Price tag for the package: $9.5 million. Refundable deposits of $80,000 are already being accepted through an escrow company.
To put those figures in perspective, space passengers have paid as much as $35 million to take a weeklong trip to the International Space Station on a Russian spacecraft, after spending six months in training. The last such passenger flew in 2009. Since then, NASA has paid more than twice as much for Russian rides to orbit.
In a news release, Frank Bunger said he and his team “developed Aurora Station to provide a turnkey destination in space … bringing travelers into space quicker and at a lower price point than ever seen before, while still providing an unforgettable experience.”
“Our goal is to make space accessible to all, by continuing to drive greater value at lower cost,” Bunger said.
Bunger said Orion Span would offer full charters to space agencies looking for a low-cost route to human spaceflight, and could support zero-gravity research or 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,” he said. “We will later sell dedicated modules as the world’s first condominiums in space. Future Aurora owners can live in, visit, or sublease their space condo.”
Photo: Rendering of Aurora Station (credit: Orion Span)
Source: Orion Span