Book a stay at this space hotel in 2022 - if you have $9.5M to spare
'We've got five months worth of deposits,' said CEO, a refundable cost of $80,000 U.S.
Up for an adventure that's out of this world?
Perhaps a trip to the Aurora Station is your ticket out of here — if you happen to have $9.5 million dollars US to book a room, that is.
A two-week stay aboard the luxury spacefaring hotel comes at a high price, but its creators also promise an opportunity to learn more about space travel.
"We're not so much providing a room with a view, that is obviously part of it, but it's more we're providing an authentic astronaut experience," said Frank Bunger, CEO of Orion Span, a Silicon Valley and Houston-based firm behind the space hotel.
Astronauts-in-training will work on scientific experiments and do things like grow food in space. Patrons can then bring that food back home as a souvenir, explained Bunger, who is already booked to be on the first flight.
The station is scheduled to launch in 2022. The single-module station has a slender diameter of about 160 cm, and will host up to six people at a time (four guests and two crew from Orion Span).
While the luxury hotel isn't equipped with fancy hot tubs and spas, a Holodeck will offer a virtual reality experience as a way to feel more rooted to terrestrial commodities.
"So you could be playing golf back at home or swimming in the ocean," Bunger told The Current's Laura Lynch, as a way to immerse oneself in "a sense of futurism."
Don't worry about the Wi-Fi, either. The hotel's site boasts the fastest wireless internet access in space to share the experience with friends and family on Earth instantly.
The Aurora Station completes an orbit every 90 minutes, "meaning you'll see day & night over Earth hundreds of times during your 12-day stay," according to the company's website.
A medical emergency spacecraft will also be on hand.
Signing up for this outer space experience does include a training program, both on the ground and aboard the station.
After completing the training program, Bunger hopes the certification would be usable with other commercial spaceflight providers in the future.
Ready to sign up?
According to Bunger, there's a tremendous demand and interest for space tourism.
"We've got five months' worth of deposits already," he told Lynch. The $80,000 US cost is refundable.
He said he's quite optimistic that prices will come down significantly as demand grows.
"My goal in building the hotel is to make space travel more routine. I think it's important that we as a human civilization start to extend ourselves into space," he said.
"If you think ahead 100 years from today, space travel will be a routine occurrence, just like getting on an airplane."
'A red herring'
You won't find John Longdson's name on the waitlist to board the space hotel.
The founder of the Space Policy Institute, says the comparison between the Aurora Station and modern commercial airflight is "kind of a red herring" as far as safety goes.
"But the willingness to assume risks for yourself is so far unregulated," Longdson said.
He argued that beyond managing the flight to not hit anything in orbit, there are other issues to consider.
"The technical requirements of overcoming gravity and getting to the speed of 25 times the speed of sound are really very challenging."
Longdsdon is skeptical the Aurora Station will make it off the ground. Besides the incredibly expensive cost to finance the hotel to be in orbit in 2022, he argued, "there's no launch vehicle to build this thing."
He told Lynch that until the station can guarantee a good wine cellar, he's sticking to earthly luxuries.
Listen to the full conversation at the top of this page, which includes Maxim De Jong who is currently working on designs for NASA.
This segment was produced by The Current's Idella Sturino and Danielle Carr.