Over the past few decades, humans have continued to fantasize about space and the many opportunities that could lie therein. We've seen people look towards the skies and stars and see a possible home away from home, and the dream of colonizing the space frontier one day remains alive for sure.
Several companies have given themselves to the mission as well. Blue Origin, SpaceX, and Virgin Galactic are just a few names on the list. All backed by billionaires, these firms look to harness man's imagination and forge a path to a future where travel to and from space is so easy that everyday folk can get in on the trend as well.
Say Hello to the Voyager Station
This month, a new company put its hat into the ring, essentially joining the list of firms hoping to capitalize on humanity's thirst to go to space. Orbital Assembly Corporation (OAC), a space construction and exploration company filled with veterans from NASA, announced plans to start work on a space hotel in 2026.
According to multiple reports, the OAC hotel - named the Voyager Station - is set to open to the public in 2027. John Blincow, the company's head, explained that they're merely looking to bring people to a realization that the golden age of space is here.
Shedding more light, reports confirmed that the Voyager Station plans to accommodate up to 280 guests. It will include a bar, a restaurant, concert locations, a cinema, and even a fully-fitted gym. Many of the offerings available will be a nod to space and space travel. For instance, the space hotel will feature free-dried ice cream.
How the Hotel Looks
OAC has been working on this project for quite some time now. The company debuted initial designs for its space hotel years back, explaining that they had taken some inspiration from the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey." Speaking to CNN Travel at the time, Tim Alatorre, the company's senior design architect, explained:
"I think the goal of Stanley Kubrick was to highlight the divide between technology and humanity and so, purposefully, he made the stations and the ships very sterile and clean and alien."
Calling the movie's design an example of "what not to do," Alatorre explained that he and his team would look to merge Earth and space seamlessly. So, they would incorporate warm hotel suites with lovely restaurants and bars. This way, guests can be miles from home and still enjoy their regular showers and bed spaces.
The Voyager Station will be built in the shape of a ring. To ensure visitors' safety, the hotel will feature artificial gravity. It will use centrifugal force to simulate gravity levels and spin like an actual Ferris wheel. However, guests will still get a significantly higher level of weightlessness than when they're back home on Earth.
World-Class Amenities Onboard
Architectural Digest reported that the hotel's developers are working on recreational activities like basketball games that will allow players to jump up to six times their standard height - of course, due to the lack of gravity.
Considering the hotel's unique build, tourists looking to get on will need to undergo special training. According to a Washington Post report, the OAC is looking to partner with SpaceX for shuttle rides to take tourists deep into space and bring them back. Shuttle rides will require physical and strength training for tourists to effectively accommodate the physical strain.
Voyager Station has begun taking reservations from prospective tourists. As Travel + Leisure reported, reservations for a three-day stay are going for $5 million. OAC is hoping to bring those rates down over time. As the team explained, they hope that the rates should eventually be the same as getting someone to go on a cruise or a trip to a tourist attraction site.
Too Much to Handle?
To be fair, such lofty beliefs are admirable. The hope that humankind will be able to go to space and live in hotels easily is a laudable one. However, several challenges could stand in the way of these dreamers.
First, and perhaps most critical, is the schedule. The belief that any single company can build a space hotel - capable of hosting hundreds of people at once - is simply mind-boggling. Only a few institutions can even attempt to create a structure as large as the International Space Station (ISS). One of them is China, and its plans are much more modest than the ISS itself.
Much smaller projects have run into delays and have been significantly over the projected budget. Thinking that a three-year-old company can get this done is just too good to be true.
The second challenge is the cost. Only a few reports seem to focus on how much it would cost to build the OAC's space hotel. The company itself has said little about the project's financial implications. In a webinar back in January, the company acknowledged that the project would cost tens of billions. Even at that, officials were only forced to make this admission after someone had grilled them about it.
Interestingly, the company's webinar was essentially a pitch for a crowdfunding investment round that it was organizing. It appeared to have succeeded, with the company claiming that it had raised its target of $1 million. Still, $1 million seems like pennies compared to the tens of billions that the OAC plans to spend to build this hotel. Up until now, there's no clear path for the company's hopes to raise the capital it requires.
It is also a tad weird that the company will resort to crowdfunding. Perhaps venture capitalists and investment bankers have looked at its plans and deemed them too risky to put money into.
Then, there is the company's vision for the project. OAC claims that visitors will be able to go on a space cruise the same way they would go to Disneyland by 2027. No special equipment or training is needed.
However, if the past couple of years have shown anything, it's that orbital spaceflight isn't as easy as it seems. SpaceX has struggled over the years on the project, as has Boeing. The OAC believes that it can get this done in less than a decade, which also seems like a pipe dream.
Still, it's a case of "fingers crossed" for the company. Everyone wants to know how the OAC will perform with its objective, and there are genuine believers in this project.