Read More: Space.com
Well-heeled space tourists will have a new orbital destination four years from now, if one company's plans come to fruition. That startup, called Orion Span, aims to loft its "Aurora Station" in late 2021 and begin accommodating guests in 2022. "We are launching the first-ever affordable luxury space hotel," said Orion Span founder and CEO Frank Bunger, who unveiled the Aurora Station idea today (April 5) at the Space 2.0 Summit in San Jose, California. "Affordable" is a relative term: A 12-day stay aboard Aurora Station will start at $9.5 million. Still, that's quite a bit less than orbital tourists have paid in the past. From 2001 through 2009, seven private citizens took a total of eight trips to the International Space Station (ISS), paying an estimated $20 million to $40 million each time. (These private missions were brokered by the Virginia-based company Space Adventures and employed Russian Soyuz spacecraft and rockets.) "There's been innovation around the architecture to make it more modular and more simple to use and have more automation, so we don't have to have EVAs
or spacewalks," Bunger said of Aurora Station.