Aboard the International Space Station, an astronaut's life is typically work, exercise, rest, repeat. But what if your chance of having the right stuff for NASA's astronaut corps is, to say the least, minimal?
Aurora Station, billed as the "first luxury hotel in space," may be for you. Houston-based Orion Span hopes to launch the modular station in late 2021 and welcome its first guests the following year, with two crew members accompanying each excursion. The platform would orbit 200 miles above Earth, offering six guests 384 sunrises and sunsets as they race around the planet for 12 days at incredibly high speeds.
Once, such a thing would have clearly been the stuff of fiction. Now, in the age of SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic, the idea that a private company would launch an orbiting hotel seems almost pedestrian.
"We want to get people into space because it's the final frontier for our civilisation," said Orion Span's founder and chief executive officer, Frank Bunger, a former software engineer. Orion Span's offering won't be for everyone, however: Launch and re-entry are not for the faint of heart.
"We're not selling a hey-let's-go-to-the-beach equivalent in space," Bunger said. "We're selling the experience of being an astronaut. You reckon that there are people who are willing to pay to have that experience."
Beyond the physical limitations to embarking, there are also the fiscal ones.