A staycation at this hotel would definitely impress your date

How much are you willing to pay for a holiday in space? Source: Shutterstock.

COMPANIES are zooming in on the mainstream travel sphere with plans to launch “out of the world” experiences.

In February 2018, Robert Bigelow-owned Bigelow Space Operations announced its plans to launch an inflatable space habitat in 2021. The company revealed the hotel will be made up of two 17-meter inflatable modules called B330-1 and B330-2, and they’re set to orbit at around 403km above Earth.

Now, another company has also announced its plans to open a luxury hotel in space.

Silicon Valley startup Orion Span is giving space dreamers the opportunity to buy their way into space with the Aurora Station. The hotel, which will initially start with just one module, can hold six guests including two crew. It’ll be launched into a low-Earth orbit at an altitude of 322km in 2021.

“Our luxurious accommodations will include private suites for two, the most number of windows ever created for spaceflight, weightlessness, and the world’s only authentic astronaut experience,” Orion Span wrote on its website.

“Believe you were meant for a less than ordinary life? Join us aboard Aurora Station for a 12-day adventure that will change your life. Experience the thrill of zero gravity, watch the aurora borealis, grow food in space, or dive into our holodeck, for the world’s only authentic astronaut experience.”

Guests will also have to go through a three-month training program to get them astronaut-ready for their space adventure.

The only problem is, the price per person is an astronomical US$9.5 million, and to reserve a spot on the waiting list right now will set you back US$80,000.

The reservation fee is refundable, of course, but this is definitely not a budget holiday, despite Orion Span CEO and founder Frank Bunger saying, “Our goal is to make space accessible to all, by continuing to drive greater value at lower cost.”

It’s an exciting prospect – staying in space – and it’s easy to see why considering how much space travel and space hotels have been touted in recent years. But this isn’t the first time or the first company that’s making seemingly fluffy space tourism promises.

Would you spent an astronomical US$9.5 million to vacay in space? Source: Shutterstock.

In 2007, a “Galactic Suite” project was revealed, promising an intergalactic experience similar to the Aurora Station. Back then, the Barcelona-based aerospace design company ambitiously announced that the suite was to open for business by 2012 and allow guests to travel around the world in 80 minutes.

The company even confidently took bookings and in about a year, 38 wannabe space travelers were on the waiting list. Alas, the project was never realized.

That having said, space tourism isn’t entirely impossible either as seven “private astronauts” aka “space tourists” reportedly rode Russian-made Soyuz rockets to the International Space Station for brief stays between 2001 and 2009.

In speaking about his longer-term plan for Orion Span, Bunger revealed an expansion is on the horizon and more modules will be added to the Aurora Station for a variety of potential uses.

“Our architecture is such that we can easily add capacity, enabling us to grow with market demand like a city growing skyward on Earth,” Bunger said.

“We will later sell dedicated modules as the world’s first condominiums in space. Future Aurora owners can live in, visit, or sublease their space condo.”