Justin Lee Brea Olinda HS 11th Grade
Why book a two-week stay in the Bahamas to see crystal water when you can spend your vacation up in space and observe the vast cosmos? In less than five years, we may be occupying our summer break in space. Recently, Houston-based startup Orion Span announced their plans of launching their Aurora Station by 2021, a luxury space hotel for select guests. With the ongoing technological race among giants like Google and NASA, it is no surprise that such far-fetched innovations have become the norm.
This proposal undoubtedly brings excitement, and has the potential to generate a strong following. Simply enjoying the extraterrestrial environment and maybe even taking pictures of our planet to debunk those flat-earthers back home sounds amazing, but only if you can afford it. The starting price comes down to just ＄9.5 million per person, and the experience comes with a 12-night stay and a round-trip ticket. In addition, the package includes a required three-month training program before the guests will be ready for space travel, which involves online as well as contingency training in Houston. It seems as though this “vacation” mandates extensive work upon potential guests in order to earn the privilege. Nevertheless, the company states that it has “taken what was historically a 24-month training regimen to prepare travelers to visit a space station and streamlined it to three months, at a fraction of the cost.”
Aurora Station will be able to accommodate four guests at a time with two crew members who will most likely be ex-astronauts. The spacecraft will be about the size of a private jet, and will be sent into orbit around 200 miles up in the sky. In this cabin, visitors will be able to watch the sun rise 16 times a day and even partake in research experiments.
Despite these ideal specifications, Orion Span first needs to secure a contract with a launch provider, leading many to question the proposed timeline of their endeavors. However, Orion is not alone in this hurtle to get out into space; companies like Axion Space and Virgin Galactic have circulated similar ideas on space travel. If successful, Orion Span plans to “sell space” and make our dreams come true. As CEO and founder Frank Bunger proclaimed, “Future Aurora owners can live in, visit, or sublease their space condo.”
<Justin Lee Brea Olinda HS 11th Grade