HOUSTON – Living and working in another world: It’s been a dream since humans started reaching for the stars.
Until now, you had to fly with a government space agency or stay on an orbiting, government-owned space station.
But Orion Span, a local company, said that could change. The space technology startup said it has the ticket that will make extraterrestrial stays possible, with the help of Houstonians.
"We'll be actually building it on the ground right there in Houston in the Clear Lake area, so it is (going to) be a Houston-based project,” said Frank Bunger, the founder and CEO of Orion Span. "They're going to be basically experiencing what it's like to be an astronaut and spend their day-to-day doing those types of activities."
The Aurora Station will be a high-flying, five-star space hotel.
Construction is expected to start early next year.
Orion Span plans to launch the orbiting outpost in 2021.
The first guests are expected in 2022. They will live aboard the hotel built for six people, including two crew members.
The hotel would orbit the Earth once every 16 minutes. At that rate, passengers could see 16 sunrises and sunsets within 24 hours.
The company promises, at 200 miles up, you will be close enough to take a photo of your hometown, but far enough to appreciate the view of our blue planet as you float in micro-gravity.
"We also have a virtual reality experience aboard called the Halo-deck, and we expect people will have a blast in there because in virtual reality, you can do anything," Bunger said. "You can walk on Pluto or you can play golf back home."
The experience is not cheap. The cost for the 12-night journey is $9.5 million. That works out to a nightly rate is $792,000.
Orion Span is taking reservations now. The deposit is $80,000 and the company said it is fully refundable if you change your mind.
"I think in the last few years, we've seen a combination of trends that fuel the possibility of actually making something like a space hotel possible, so therefore, (we're) making visiting space a routine function," Bunger said. "And then, you know, by extension, that means we can start to think in the future of colonization of space, which is really the ultimate goal here."
This would be the first luxury hotel in space. Orion Span said this is just the beginning. The company is also planning a series of space condos, where there is plenty of space for expansion.