To (expensively) go where few have gone, space hotel gets smaller

Plans for second hotel could be completed sooner than larger one

Space station (Orbital Assembly, iStock, Illustration by Kevin Cifuentes for The Real Deal)
(Orbital Assembly, iStock, Illustration by Kevin Cifuentes for The Real Deal)

Orbital Assembly, the company behind a planned hotel in space, says smaller is better.

The Huntsville, Alabama-based firm is working on a new concept to accompany the 400-guest Voyager Station, a 28-person facility named Pioneer Station, CNN reported. Pioneer could be operational in as little as three years, two years before Voyager.

It won’t come cheap: Insider reported last year that a three-day stay at Voyager would cost about $5 million. Pioneer pricing hasn’t been released.

The projects call for multiple modules in a circle connected by elevator-shaft spokes that will orbit the Earth. Orbital Assembly also aims to build a truly out-of-the-office facility – a business park in space.

Space tourism, while still in its infancy, has attracted the likes of Virgin founder Richard Branson, whose Virgin Galactic is set to launch the first commercial space flight service. The 90-year-old Star Trek actor William Shatner became the oldest person in space in October, when he flew with Blue Origin.

Tim Alatorre, Orbital Assembly’s chief operating officer, says the appeal of Pioneer Station is that it can be completed sooner due to its size. “It’s going to get us the opportunity to have people start to experience space on a larger scale, faster,” he said.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

Pioneer Station will also have office space and research facilities available for rent.

Interior renderings for each of the stations resemble designs of luxury hotels on Earth — just with the added view of our home planet down below.

The space hotel was originally set to be named Von Braun Station, after aerospace engineer Wernher von Braun, whose 60-year-old designs inspired the concept. The name was a controversial choice as von Braun was associated with the Nazi rocket development program.

“It’s based on his design, and we like his contributions towards science and space,” former Orbital Assembly CEO John Blincow, who is no longer associated with the company, said in a 2021 CNN interview. “But you know, Voyager Station is so much more than that. It is the stuff in the future. And we want a name that doesn’t have those attachments to it.”

Read more

[CNN] — Victoria Pruitt