Facebook | Orbital Assembly

Out-Of-This-World Travel Gets Boost From Planned Space Hotel Due To Open In 2027

There is, to be sure, a thrill from traveling extraordinarily far from home. Just knowing that there are oceans and mountains between you and the safest place you know puts a charge into you and elevates every little thing you do to a new height. But what about having hundreds of miles of nothing between you and home?

Space tourism isn't a new idea — the first "space tourist," a civilian who paid to ride along on a space launch, Dennis Tito, made his voyage in 2001, which I regret to inform you was 20 years ago — but it hasn't been quite as widely adopted as we had expected after that first trip.

Nevertheless, one company has an ambitious plan to rocket-power space tourism with a full-on hotel in orbit.

If you've ever wanted to get away from it all as literally as possible, you might want to plan a visit to Voyager Station.

Facebook | Orbital Assembly

Where companies like Virgin Galactic want to let tourists experience a bit of low gravity on sub-orbital flights, Voyager Station would allow space tourists a longer stay way up above the clouds.

And yet, to the company behind it — Orbital Assembly Corporation (OAC) — it's a stepping stone to even bigger things.

To be sure, Voyager Station would be a pretty amazing accomplishment if everything goes according to plan.

Facebook | Gateway Spaceport

OAC intends for Voyager Station to be able to accommodate up to 400 guests at a time. And although the view from orbit is captivating on its own, OAC plans to put bars, restaurants, a spa, and a cinema on board, as well as providing artificial gravity via its 650-foot wide rotating ring design, much like the space station envisioned in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

And although it does greatly resemble that 2001 station, Voyager Station is actually based on concepts originated by famous rocket scientist Wernher von Braun, according to Space.com.

And if it works out, tourists won't be the only ones on board.

Facebook | Gateway Spaceport

OAC hopes to be able to use the station to host researchers for NASA or other national space agencies, while providing them with some nicer living accommodations like fully flushing toilets and working showers.

However, Voyager Station would just be the start — according to the Gateway Foundation, which founded OAC, Voyager Station represents "important first steps to colonizing space and other worlds." Voyager wouldn't necessarily be a space station on its own, but an entire class of space stations; from there, Gateway would establish a spaceport.

The Gateway Foundation and OAC are expecting construction to begin in 2025, and for Voyager Station to open in 2027.

Facebook | Orbital Assembly

It's an incredibly ambitious target, especially when you consider that they haven't even proven the concept of artificial gravity in low orbit with smaller builds. The company intends to build a 200-foot diameter ring to test if it can generate as much gravity as would be felt on Mars, which is about 40% of Earth's gravity.

Getting some gravity is key, said Tim Alatorre, one of Gateway Foundation's founders and one of the station's designers, during a press event, Space.com reported.

"Microgravity is just brutal on our bodies," he said. "We need artificial gravity — a mechanism to give us a dosage of gravity to give us the ability to live long-term in space."

If successful, the station would be able to adjust its gravity simply by slowing down or speeding up its rate of rotation.

Facebook | Orbital Assembly

To accomplish all the feats this project will require, OAC recruited a team of NASA veterans, pilots, engineers, and architects, and they're also designing and building robotic drones to perform some of the assembly in space.

Needless to say, Voyager Station has been in planning for years — The Gateway Foundation was established in 2012; OAC, in 2018. The hope is to have the proof of concept gravity ring built and in orbit in two to three years.

h/t: Space.com

Filed Under: