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Houston start-up reveals plans for luxury commercial space station

Looking for an out of the world travel experience? A Houston-based space start-up may have the answer to your dreams! But of course, be ready to shed a few millions.

Orion Span has announced the plans to launch the first luxury hotel in space called Aurora. Named after the magical light phenomenon that illuminates the Earth’s polar skies, the first fully modular commercial space station is set to be placed in orbit by 2021. The station will start hosting guests from 2022.

The exclusive hotel will host six people at a time – including two crew members. The package costs $9.5 million per person for a 12-day authentic astronaut experience. In comparison, a commercial tour to the International Space Station costs over $20-$40 million. Orion has started accepting deposits, which are fully refundable and amounts to $80,000 per person.

“We developed Aurora Station to provide a turnkey destination in space. Upon launch, Aurora Station goes into service immediately, bringing travelers into space quicker and at a lower price point than ever seen before, while still providing an unforgettable experience,” Frank Bunger, Orion Span CEO and Founder, said in a statement. Bunger also claimed that Orion Span has additionally taken what was historically a 24-month training regimen to prepare travelers 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.”

What you can do aboard the space hotel

Placed 200 miles above the Earth’s surface in Low Earth Orbit, Aurora Station will rotate the planet every 90 minutes, meaning those aboard will see an average of 16 sunrises and sunsets every 24 hours!

During their stay on Aurora Station, travelers can experience zero gravity as they fly freely throughout the Aurora Station, look at Earth’s northern and southern aurora through the windows, and soar over their hometowns. They can even take part in research experiments such as growing food while in orbit, which they can take home with them as a souvenir. There will be high-speed wireless Internet for the guests to connect with their friends and families back on Earth.

Prior to take-off, travelers need to go through a three-month Orion Span Astronaut Certification (OSAC) course. Phase one of the certification program is done online, making space travel easier than ever while the next portion will be completed in-person at Orion Span’s state-of-the-art training facility in Houston, Texas. The final certification is completed during a traveler’s stay on Aurora Station.

Orion Span has other plans for Aurora Station beyond serving as a hotel. The company plans to 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,” Bunger said. The station’s architecture is such that it would be easy add capacity, enabling the module to grow with demand “like a city growing skyward on Earth”, he said, adding that if the idea clicks dedicated modules can be added and sold/leased as the world’s first condominiums in space.

Already excited about the once in a lifetime opportunity? Click here and reserve your seats.


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