Daily Management Review

Space To Become A Travel Destination By 2022


From space orbital, the innovation industry is now moving towards space hotel business which could eventually lead to “sustainable human habitation” in low earth orbits.

Mike Wall reports that soon tourists will be able add a new location on their travel destinations’ list. If things go as planned, then within the next four years’ time, people will take to a “new orbital destination”. Orion Span is a star-up which is planning to take its “Aurora Station” to space and begin “accommodating guests in 2022”.
Unveiling the idea of Aurora Station at the “Space 2.0 Summit in San Jose, California”, chief executive of the company, Frank Bunger said:
“We are launching the first-ever affordable luxury space hotel”.
The starting price of the Aurora Station for visitors will be at “$9.5 million” for a twelve day stay aboard the space hotel. However, the price is below that of the amounts paid so far by “orbital tourists”. Within the year of 2001 to 2009, “seven private citizens” took “eight trips to the International Space Station” for which they had to shell out around “$20 million to $40 million each time”.  While, Bunger added:
“There's been innovation around the architecture to make it more modular and more simple to use and have more automation, so we don't have to have EVAs [extravehicular activities] or spacewalks”.
“The goal when we started the company was to create that innovation to make simplicity possible, and by making simplicity possible, we drive a tremendous amount of cost out of it”.
Aurora Station is being built by Orion Span itself with the help of its engineers some of whom have helped in the designing and operation of the ISS. The space hotel is being built in “Houston”. While, Mike Wall informed that:
“Aurora Station will be about the size of a large private jet's cabin. It'll measure 43.5 feet long by 14.1 feet wide (13.3 by 4.3 meters) and feature a pressurized volume of 5,650 cubic feet (160 cubic m), Orion Span representatives said. For comparison, the ISS is 357 feet (109 m) long and has an internal pressurized volume of 32,333 cubic feet (916 cubic m)”.
The outpost will be orbiting “a bit lower” than the ISS, although the mode of travel for the occupants visiting Aurora Station from the earth still remain unclear. The station will be accommodating four guests and “two crewmembers”, while the latter are likely to be “former astronauts”. Initially, the guests may comprise of “private space tourists” but Orin Span has plans of opening up Aurora Station to various customers including “government space agencies”.
Furthermore, there are plans of extending the size of the hotel over time, if plans are met accordingly. With growing demand, Orion Span will also be launching “additional modules” that will “link up with the original core outpost”, in Bunger’s words:
“Our long-term vision is to sell actual space in those new modules. We're calling that a space condo. So, either for living or subleasing, that's the future vision here — to create a long-term, sustainable human habitation in LEO [low Earth orbit].”
However, Orion Span has its competitors too who wish to carve a niche in space travels, along them are Axiom Space and Bigelow Aerospace, while “Virgin Galactic”, “Blue Origin” and their peers plan on building vehicles to carry people “to and from suborbital space”.