Space is poised to become a formidable new frontier for hotels. One of the key challenges of space hotels will be developing a holistic environment that capitalizes on the special attractions space offers while meeting practical considerations.
Voyager Station, an expansive space-hotel concept hatched by Orbital Assembly Corporation, believes its “focused and well-designed hotel space” will offer the “most comfortable and exceptional luxury hotel” experience in space with plenty of amenities, says Tim Alatorre, Orbital Assembly’s COO and CFO. Those amenities will include “more suitable showers and toilets, restaurants, bars, entertainment and gym modules allowing guests to engage in low-gravity sports and test their skills in special jumps and other experiences, which utilize different elements of low gravity.” The hotel will also enable guests “to take space walks outside the station with their helmets on,” adds Alatorre. Orbital Assembly “has also discussed the possibility of using augmented reality” in the hotel.
The Voyager Station will be situated in a “lower, Sun-Synchronous orbit about 250 miles from earth, which is the same altitude of ISS.” According to Alatorre, “our goal is to launch the hotel by the end of the decade.”
The station will afford “continuous sunlight on one side, enabling continuous power 24/7.” Essentially, it will link together various modules. The station will encompass 125,000 sq. ft. of habitable space and measure 200-meters in diameter. Orbital Assembly has been in discussions with possible partners, including Space X, but “hasn’t yet signed any launch contracts,” Alatorre reports.
In his view, one of the hotel’s “biggest selling points will be its low-gravity environment, though it will also integrate zero-gravity or micro-gravity spaces.” As such, the company distinguishes its planned hotel, for example, from Axiom Space’s planned hotel module on the International Space Station, which he characterizes as a “microgravity extension of the ISS, and an adaptation of a research environment to a hotel space with few amenities.”
The station will comprise “24 modules, including two for station operations, two for kitchen and restaurant operations, two for recreation facilities and 18 modules for crew quarters, guestrooms and other rooms,” explains Talatorre.
He claims the hotel will be able to accommodate “a maximum of 440 people in up to 160 guestrooms, assuming the entire Voyager Station is fully allocated to hotel space.” The station “may sell modules to space agencies and other organizations,” he adds. Alatorre expects the “average tourist will stay on the station for three to five days.”
Ultimately, the hotel aims to cater to “anyone who wants to venture into space,” however, during the “initial years of the hotel’s operation,” it will primarily serve “high net-worth people who want an experience of a lifetime” due to the high initial launch costs. Alatatorre claims that “a hotel ticket will eventually cost one-tenth of the going rate.”
Guests will receive training before boarding their trip. “In the early days of the hotel’s operation, we anticipate there will be an extensive screening and training process for guests,” explains Talatorre. Afterwards, “the goal is for guests to only need a day’s worth of training or less.” Talatorre points out that “the bulk of the training will be focused on the guest’s journey to the space station.”
The company has plans to “expand the number of stations based on demand in order to establish a constellation of stations with as many rooms as needed,” notes Alatorre, adding the hotel expects “to become profitable within five years of operation.”
Alatorre says the Voyager Station will conduct its prime prototype test with a launch of its P Star robot 40- meter-long space station in 2023. That launch “will test the primary functions of the station, including maintenance features, and include technology experiments. If the test is successful, the full-scale station will be built.”
John Spencer, founder and president of the Space Tourism Society, commends Voyager Station for its role as a “large scale visionary project centering on space tourism.” He feels the project is “heading in the right direction, as it’s focused
to a large extent on space construction and assembly.”
BY MICHAEL MASCIONI