'Luxury space hotel' to launch in 2021

Aurora Station interior

A cutaway diagram shows the interior of Aurora Station. The module would measure 43.5 feet long and 14.1 feet in diameter

The long-term vision of the company is to sell space in new modules, which it is referring to as "space condos".

Orion Span says its hotel habitat, dubbed Aurora Station, will be about the size of a large private jet's cabin, with 5,650 cubic feet of pressurized space.

Prospective customers will also be subjected to a three-month training regime at an Orion Span facility in Houston, Texas, to ensure the safety of guests on board. We're selling the experience of being an astronaut.

Orion Span's technology enables us to bring down the cost of visiting and living in space by orders of magnitude.

The term affordable is used loosely in this case as the average cost of staying in the hotel for 12 days is roughly $9.5 million.

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.

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In just four years' time, and for an astronomical $9.5 million dollars, it's claimed you can.

This is one to keep an eye on, but a luxury space hotel orbiting the world in four years time? The hotel will orbit at an altitude of 200 miles, which is 50 miles closer to the Earth than the International Space Station.

It is thought that the space hotel will be modular in design, which will make it simpler to launch and redesign in the future.

Guests can have live video chats with their less-fortunate loved ones back home via high-speed wireless Internet access and, upon return to Earth, will be greeted with a specially arranged hero's welcome.

He explained: "Aurora Station is incredibly versatile and has multiple uses beyond serving as a hotel".

Orion Span is not alone in its pursuit as Bigelow Aerospace, and Axiom Space has the same plans.

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Travelers will complete a three-month Orion Span Astronaut Certification (OSAC) program before take-off.

Whatever the price tag, the tourist demographic with spare cash for space jaunts is presumably quite small.

Virgin Galactic, founded by Richard Branson with the aim of taking passengers briefly into sub-orbital space, will charge for $250,000 for its trips.

It plans to offer fully chartered trips to space agencies and support zero gravity research and space manufacturing.

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

In fact, there are already plans to add a luxury module to the ISS to carve out a tiny space for tourists, but that seems chintzy now compared to an entire station.

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