Hotel in outer space slated for 2025 opening

May 11, 2022

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A few years ago, the idea of private citizens travelling to outer space seemed a bit far-fetched. That, of course, happens now with some regularity.

Now, a California-based company is betting big that the trend toward ‘space tourism’ will continue, as it announces plans to open a hotel in space within the next few years.

Orbital Assembly Corporation, which claims to be the only company developing a “commercially viable, space-based business park with gravity” is planning a hotel of sorts that could house up to 28 guests.

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The facility, expected to be operational in 2025, is targeted to open ahead of a much larger, previously-announced space station called the Voyager Station, which is slated to house as many as 400 people.

Announced this week, Pioneer-class is the name Orbital is giving to the first of its space stations set to open. Dubbed as the “world’s first and largest hybrid space stations for both work and stay,” the concept looks like something out of the Star Wars saga, with five modules built around a rotating ‘Gravity Ring’ architecture design.

orbital express Pioneer station
Exterior view of Pioneer Station, slated to open by 2025. (Photo courtesy of Orbital Assembly Corp.)

Unlike the Star Wars ships where Earth’s laws of gravity seem to apply and images of real-life astronauts in space in movies like Apollo 13 where pencils and tools float around, Orbital says its facilities will provide a “hybrid environment” of both Zero-G ‘microgravity,’ “and variable levels of gravity up to .57-G.”

Related: You can now book your £325,200 ticket to fly into space with Virgin Galactic

Explained more plainly, guests will be able to feel some weightlessness, Orbital says, but they can also drink out of a cup and won’t have to be strapped to the bed to sleep.

“We’ve been able to develop a safe, secure and reliable modular station that will generate revenue and profitability from both the tourist and commercial sectors sooner than our competitors who are adhering to NASA timetables,” Orbital Assembly CEO Rhonda Stevenson said in a statement this week.

Of course, a major barrier to outer space exploration for most people on the planet remains cost; Orbital acknowledges “launch costs continue to be a barrier.” However, the company expects tourists might be enticed to make the trek into orbit “as space travel becomes less expensive.”

Let’s allow ourselves a moment of imagination, though, and take a look at what the room may look like. The rendering of the Pioneer-class accommodations shared by Orbital shows a couple of bunk beds, with flat-screen TVs next to each bed, a window with a view of the stars, complete with a desk and chair.

hotel room orbital assembly pioneer
A room aboard Orbital’s Pioneer-class. (Photo courtesy of Orbital Assembly Corp.)

The rendering of Orbital’s further in-the-future concept (its larger Voyager facility) shows a more spacious room, with guests who appear to have upgraded to an ‘Earth view’ accommodation featuring large windows, and décor that pretty much resembles a typical hotel room. Orbital is calling this it’s luxury suite.

luxury sweet aboard outer space Voyager
A ‘luxury suite’ aboard Orbital’s Voyager. (Photo courtesy of Orbital Assembly Corp.)

Here’s another suite concept aboard Voyager.

It wouldn’t be a luxury hotel without a fine dining option, and Voyager has that, too, according to the renderings shared with TPG.

restaurant at Voyager outer space hotel
Rendering of the restaurant aboard Orbital’s Voyager. (Photo courtesy of Orbital Assembly Corp.)

The image of the restaurant’s bar appears to put away any doubts as to whether draught beer is a viable option in outer space, although most of the patrons seem to have opted for wine or a canned drink…

bar aboard voyager outer space hotel
The bar aboard Orbital’s Voyager. (Photo courtesy of Orbital Assembly Corp.)

Again, Voyager – the much larger concept – is expected after the Pioneer-class facility, which Orbital says will be operational by 2025… in just about three years.

While a lot of us at TPG are sceptical of the timeline, it sure looks fun.

Indeed, there’s more work to be done; no facility like this has ever been built.

At the same time, Orbital continues to study the impact of artificial gravity on humans, in partnership with a former NASA astronaut.

And considering the rate at which outer space is becoming a viable option for some tourists, it’s at least worth taking a moment to consider what it might be like to book a room at a hotel away from planet Earth.

Featured photo courtesy of Orbital Assembly Corp.

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