A Space Start-Up Wants to Open a Floating Luxury Hotel

The 12-day visit to Aurora Station in space will start at $9.5 million per person

Have you ever wanted to take a trip to space on spring break or go see the stars in the fall?

Soon you might have the opportunity. Orion Span, a space technology start-up based in Houston and Silicon Valley, announced this week it plans to open what it's calling the first luxury space hotel, Aurora Station.

While the space station isn't in orbit just yet and trips won't be available until 2022 — if all goes to plan — the company is already taking deposits for 12-day visits. Aurora Station will be able to carry six people at a time, including two crew members, while it floats 200 miles above the Earth's surface. 

Of course, it's going to be expensive — the cost of a stay at the space hotel will start at $9.5 million per person.

“I think it's someone who is obviously going to have the financial means but somebody who has a sense of adventure,” Orion Span founder and CEO Frank Bunger said in an interview with NBC when asked who the space station is geared toward. “They are typically space lovers. In some cases, they might have a lineage or attachment to astronauts or space of some sorts.”

It won't be the typical hotel stay. The company touts views of the northern and southern lights and even glimpses of the astronauts' hometowns as the space station speeds around the globe, completing an orbit every 90 minutes.

Guests will need to train for three months before heading to space, where they will eat the finest in dried food, Bunger said. The space station may borrow the idea of a virtual reality interaction "holodeck" from "Star Trek," and guests will be able to bring home food grown in space.

"We realized this space station is not a palace, it's a relatively small space, so you want to keep people entertained and doing interesting things," Bunger said. "We want to give customers a little bit of a sense and attachment to futuristic ideas that we’ve all seen in science fiction."

Bunger said he is creating the space station to give more people the chance to live in space and push the boundaries of what people can do. Bunger said in a news release that the station could expand to add space's first condominiums.

He and his leadership team have to adhere to the rules and regulations of governing bodies like the U.S. State Department's International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Bunger said. The company is working with ITAR and other space regulatory bodies to ensure that they fulfill security requirements.

"To satisfy those requirements, we’re going to make sure, for example, guests have absolutely no access to the ability to influence the spacecraft direction," Bunger said. "We'll be working with these regulatory bodies because we want to make sure that it’s all very clear and well above board for everyone."

To those who think his idea is crazy, Bunger said the "proof is in the pudding" and insisted that more people are reserving spots at the hotel each day. 

"I can't give you exact numbers but we’ve already have a very good response to our opening reservations," Bunger said. "I’m sure a lot of people think it’s crazy but there are clearly customers that want to go." 

If Bunger's plan doesn't fizzle on the launch pad, the Aurora Station is set to launch in late 2021 and host its first guests in 2022, the company said. Anyone who wants to book a trip can put down a deposit of $80,000 per person at Orion Span's website.

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