For years we've seen space tourism touted as "coming soon," but the only real opportunity to buy your way into space were very rare private trips to the International Space Station with price tags north of US$20 million. The latest private company to get into the space tourism game is Orion Span, which recently revealed its Aurora Station space hotel, promising an extremely ambitious 2022 opening date.
Orion Span says it plans to launch the initial Aurora Station module into a low-Earth orbit, at an altitude of 322 km in 2021. This orbital altitude is slightly lower than the current positioning of the ISS, which is about 408 km above the Earth. The company says the module will boast the most windows of any spacecraft put into orbit, with people staying in private two-person suites on a 12-day round trip, with a three-month training program to get them astronaut-ready before the adventure commences.
The hotel will be able to host four travelers at a time, plus two crew members guiding the journey. At a cost of US$9.5 million per person this is certainly not a budget holiday. The company even began taking bookings and by 2008 there were 38 hopeful travelers on the waiting list. The longer-term plan for the company is to expand Aurora Station from just one module to many, with a variety of potential uses.
You can reserve a spot on the waiting list right now for just $80,000. This deposit is refundable if you change your mind, or if the ambitious 2022 opening date isn't met.