It’s possible that in 2025 there will be a hotel orbiting the Earth. You can plan your out-of-this-world vacation today, but would you? Would you be willing to be one of the first to stay in the orbiting hotel?
Who Will Build it?
In 2018 National Geographic published an article about, Orion Span, a Houston-based space tech startup. Orion announced plans to launch the first-ever luxury space hotel into Earth’s orbit.
The Gateway Foundation, a private company is developing plans for the orbiting Von Braun Rotating Space Station.
Axiom Space is another company planning a space hotel. Their plan includes building their first module or two attached to the International Space Station. When ISS retires in 2025, the Axiom modules will separate from ISS to become independent orbiting objects.
Who Will Stay There?
The Von Braun station will accommodate both scientific research and visiting tourists. Designed to be the largest human-made structure in space, it will house up to 450 people.
Orion says intend to offer short- and long-term leases to governments, to lease for government and private manufacturing and research, and up to four space tourists can visit for twelve days.
Axiom offers trips to space tourists who want to take part in experiments on ISS. They will help you decide on an experiment.
According to Orion’s website, they’ve streamlined the pre-launch training down to a three-month period. The final training would occur in orbit.
Axiom’s website says to expect several weeks of training “just like the astronauts” do for NASA.
When Can You Go?
The Gateway Foundation intends for the main structures and basic functions to be operational in 2025. They will complete it in 2027.
Orion expects to host their first guest on the Aurora Station in 2022.
Axiom aims to launch their first two modules to ISS in 2022.
What Will the Station Look Like?
See the video projection of what the Aurora will look like on CNN.
Gateway’s Von Braun Station will look like this:
Axiom’s vision looks like this:
The Risk of Going to Space
The first and most obvious one is a catastrophic failure during launch, during your stay, or during your trip back to Earth.
In space there’s radiation, confined spaces, isolation.
The distance to the Earth is also a hazard. First aid is available and so are more advanced medical treatments but a serious illness or injury may pose extra hazards.
“Without gravity working on your body, your bones lose minerals, with density dropping at over 1% per month. By comparison, the rate of bone loss for elderly men and women on Earth is from 1% to 1.5% per year.” Even after returning to Earth, you could be at greater risk of osteoporosis-related fractures later in life.
The fluids in your body will shift upwards to your head. This will give you a “moon face” and nasal congestion. But it can also put pressure on your eyes causing vision problems. They have developed compression cuffs for your thighs to help keep body fluids in your lower extremities.
Some people experience balance disorders, nausea, and sleep disturbances.
Microbes can change characteristics in space, and microorganisms that naturally live on your body transfer more easily from person to person in closed habitats like a space station. Being in space elevates your stress hormone levels and alters your immune system. That could lead to increased susceptibility to allergies or other illnesses, and disease.
There are many areas of change that seem to affect each individual differently. Taste is one of those changes. Some people think food tastes bland in space. Strong tastes aren’t as enjoyable as on Earth to others. And some aren’t bothered at all.
For a discussion of how long-term space travel affects the human body, see NASA’s Human Body in Space article.
Or read about former astronaut, Scott Kelly, who spent a year in space and is dealing with the changes his body endured.
Space tourists should know the changes and how to counteract them. But each individual will have to decide what level of risk they will tolerate.
Would You Plan Your Out-of-this-world Vacation?
When I first wrote The Repairmen, I did not include hotels in orbit. I will be rewriting that story in the near future. The rewrite will include space stations and hotels and who knows what else. Unfortunately, that will be as close as I get to taking an out-of-this-world vacation. Would I plan one if I met the criteria? You betcha!
Assuming you had the spare cash and fit the health profile, would you plan your out-of-this-world vacation? Can you imagine what it would be like to play zero-g basketball or ping pong? Is there any more exotic location for a first or second honeymoon? So tell me readers, would you go?