Aurora Station, the first-ever space hotel, to open in 2022

Aurora Station, the first-ever luxury space hotel, is expected to welcome its first visitors in orbit around Earth in 2022.

Texas-based startup Orion Span announced plans last week to launch and operate Aurora Station as the first commercial hotel in space. Visitors will get to go on a 12-day journey into orbit with prices starting at $9.5m per person.

The hotel, which will launch in 2021 before welcoming its first visitors in 2022, will host six people at a time, including two crew members. It will orbit 200 miles above the Earth’s surface, circling the globe every 90 minutes.

During their stay, travellers will get to enjoy the feeling of zero gravity while flying freely throughout Aurora Station, gaze at the northern and southern aurora through the station’s windows, soar over their hometowns, take part in research experiments such as growing food while in orbit, take part in a virtual reality experience on the holodeck and have access to high-speed internet.

Guests will even get to take home souvenirs, such as the food they grow as part of the research experiments.

Aurora Station from Orion Span will be the first-ever space hotel in orbit

A design rendering of the interior of Aurora Station.

“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,” said Frank Bunger, founder and CEO of Orion Span.

“Orion Span has additionally taken what was historically a 24-month training regimen to prepare travellers to visit a space station and streamlined it to three months, at a fraction of the cost. Our goal is to make space accessible to all, by continuing to drive greater value at lower cost.”

Aurora Station from Orion Span will be the first-ever space hotel in orbit

A look inside Aurora Station as it orbits Earth.

Prior to take-off, those set to travel to Aurora Station will have to participate in a three-month astronaut certification programme. The first phase will be conducted online with the next portion taking place at the Orion Span facility in Houston, Texas. The final certification is completed during the travellers stay in space.

Orion Span has already started accepting deposits for future stays and the first four months of available dates sold out in 72 hours. People from North America, Europe, and the Middle East have placed an $80,000 deposit towards their space holiday.

Aurora Station from Orion Span will be the first-ever space hotel in orbit

A design rendering of a transport capsule arriving at Aurora Station.

“Aurora Station is incredibly versatile and has multiple uses beyond serving as a hotel,” Bunger added.

“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. 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. This is an exciting frontier and Orion Span is proud to pave the way.”

Images: c. Orion Span.