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The Aurora Station Space Vacation

It’s the best time of the year- vacation time! You’re giddy with excitement as you pack up all of the essentials, grab your bags, and head for the…spaceship? Last year, Orion Span announced plans for the Aurora Station: the world’s first luxury hotel in space. The design that they released is pill-shaped, fully modular, and it will measure 43.5 feet long and 14.1 feet wide. Their current plan estimates that they’ll begin construction this year, launch by 2021, and welcome visitors by 2022.

Orion Span Space Hotel Interior
Photo Credit: Orion Span

The hotel will accommodate four guests in two private suites as well as two crew members. The station will rotate the earth every 90 minutes, allowing guests to enjoy 16 sunrises and sunsets daily. It will also allow guests to witness a space view of the northern and southern auroras- hence how the station was named.

Interstellar tourists will be given a full luxury experience with everything from non-astronaut food to getting to use the holodeck virtual reality platform. Guests will also be able to engage in a more authentic astronaut experience, like growing food in the micro-g environment.

Guests will also be able to talk to their loved ones back on earth with ease using the hotel’s high-speed wireless internet. Those lucky enough to stay on this spacecraft will be able to enjoy the thrills of zero gravity and roam freely about the ship for the duration of the trip. The company will also arrange a “hero’s welcome” for guests returning home, similar to one that astronauts would receive when returning from a mission.

The company has also managed to greatly condense the training necessary for space missions. What would normally take two years of training, Orion Span has condensed into a mere three months OSAC (Orion Span Astronaut Certification) Program. The goals of the training will be to teach applicants how to move in a weightless environment, as well as the basics of orbital mechanics and spaceflight. The first part of the training will be available to be completed online or via an OSAC app and is expected to be available in 2019. However, the second phase of the training (estimated to take four to six weeks) will require applicants to travel to Orion Span’s facilities in Houston, Texas. The final phase will take place while actually in space.

Although the company has claimed that this is a step toward making space accessible for anyone, not just anyone could afford their costs. The 12-day round-trip vacation is estimated to cost a total of $9.5 million (or $791,667 per night) for each guest. Though this is clearly way out of the price range of most people, it is arguably a bargain given that similar trips taken have previously cost upwards of $20 million to $40 million per person. In an attempt to make the trip feel slightly more feasible, the company is allowing people to begin to sign up now with an $80,000 refundable deposit. This will allow potential applicants to save their spot and give them time to raise or save the remaining funds, without worrying about losing their initial deposit should they fail to do so.

Though this trip may be out of the question for most of the population, theoretically this type of expedition will lead to more and more affordable versions of space vacations in years to come. But, unless you have $9.5 million lying around, maybe unpack your bags for now.

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