Plans under way for first hotel in space by 2021

U.S. company Orion Span has announced plans to open a luxury space hotel in 2021, giving guests a feel for zero gravity and, you'd imagine, some pretty spectacular views.

A hotel with all luxuries and private suites is going to be launched into space 320 kilometres above the surface of the earth by 2021. It's called Aurora Station, and it could host its first space tourists in 2022, for the bargain basement price of $9.5 million.

And the hotel will house six people at any one time, including two crew and four guests. Orion Span will charge $9.5 million for the ride and 12-day stay at the station which includes the cost of the to-and-fro journey.

Space.com reports that in the past people have paid as much as $20 to $40 million for each of eight trips to visit the International Space Station between 2001 and 2009.

Indeed, Orion Span joins a growing list of entrepreneurial firms that see cheaper access to space leading to a demand for more real estate in low Earth orbit. Folks who fly up will undergo a three-month training program, the last portion of which will occur aboard the space hotel itself, Bunger said. Orion Span is aiming for a contemporary look, which has been historically challenging for space stations.

Orion Span also conducts space research and is developing space condos.

Aurora Station will be 43.5 feet by 14.1 feet with a 5,650 cubic feet pressurised volume, according to representatives from Orion Space.

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"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", Bunger said of Aurora Station.

The company said that the deposit will be totally refundable and be kept with a third party until six months before the launch. From 2022, guests could have an "authentic astronaut" experience of living at a space hotel. Software development is being done in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The open questions surrounding Orion Span have to do with funding and logistics.

If everything goes well, the Aurora will grow larger as time goes on: more modules can be added on later to expand its offerings, which are now planned to include station-grown food and (we're not joking) a freaking holodeck.

About Orion SpanOrion Span is a space technology start-up company based in Houston, Texas and Silicon Valley, California.

Mr Bunger announced future plans for the company beyond the space hotel in a blog post. Founded by entrepreneur Frank Bunger, Orion Span's team is comprised of aerospace industry veterans with over 140 years of space experience.

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