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Technology & Innovation

The first luxury space hotel will open to civilian astronauts in 2021

Those recent tax breaks for the extremely wealthy might just have a new place to be spent.
In this handout image provided by NASA, flight engineer Nicole Stott of the space shuttle Discovery works during a six-and-a-half hour spacewalk performed overnight between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning September 1, 2009.

A company called Orion Span is launching the Aurora Station in 2021, which will be a low-Earth orbit space station offering those who can afford the cool $9.5 million tab the opportunity to spend 12 days orbiting the planet. That’s $792,000 per night, making it the most expensive hotel in the world. 

The anticipated demand is such that, just to reserve a space onboard, Orion Span is asking for an $80,000 deposit

We’re excited to announce Aurora Space Station, the world’s first luxury space hotel. Waitlist reservations are now open.

— Orion Span (@OrionSpan) April 5, 2018

Looking like an odd combination of wealthy tourist appeal and science lab, the website’s a copy reads:

"Every 90 minutes we complete an orbit, meaning you'll see day & night over Earth hundreds of times during your 12-day stay, with ample opportunity to photograph your hometown from space. With Aurora Station's fastest wireless internet access in space, you'll be equipped to share your experience with friends & family on Earth instantly."

200 miles high

The station will be 200 miles up in low-Earth orbit—you know, where a lot of space debris lives—and the company will require training and testing to come aboard. It’s reduced the amount of training required to become a modern-day Major Tom from 24 months to 3 months. 

If you manage to raise the cash to do it (maybe a GoFundMe campaign is in your future?), and you pass all the training successfully, you’ll get to watch 384 sunrises in your 12 days

But it’s not jumping in the station wagon and heading to a favorite vacation spot; the training even requires a several-week stay in Houston, with exercises on spacecraft systems and contingency training to actually see if you have the right stuff. 

Company founder Frank Bunger put it simply:

“We’re not selling a hey-let’s-go-to-the-beach equivalent in space. We’re selling the experience of being an astronaut. You reckon that there are people who are willing to pay to have that experience.”


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