If you've been wondering when the 2020s would really feel like The Future, we've got some good news. An actual "space hotel"—with restaurants, theaters, and accommodations for up to 400 guests—is coming in less than five years.
The Orbital Assembly Corporation (OAC) and Gateway Foundation have big plans for what the company is calling Voyager Station, many of which they first revealed in 2019. First, though, they have to build their massive spinning wheel in low Earth orbit, beginning in 2025.
While plenty of details are up in the air—regarding cost, for instance, both of building the station as well as staying there—OAC has indicated that the proliferation of versatile and reusable rockets like SpaceX's Falcon 9 will allow them to keep costs relatively low.
John Blincow created the OAC in 2012 and he doesn't shy away from talking like the visionary he is. The Daily Mail quoted Blincow as saying "This will be the next industrial revolution." And the Gateway Foundation website doubles down on the prospect of a working spaceport, stating that building Voyager Station will be one of the "important first steps to colonizing space and other worlds."
Space.com has more details on the striking detail of the station's planned artificial gravity:
[OAC's] team of skilled NASA veterans, pilots, engineers and architects intends to assemble a "space hotel" in low Earth orbit that rotates fast enough to generate artificial gravity for vacationers, scientists, astronauts educators and anyone else who wants to experience off-Earth living.
As a multi-phase endeavor requiring funds to realize the dream, OAC is now officially open for private investors to purchase a stake in the company at $0.25 per share, until April 1, 2021.
Voyager Station will be comprised of pods hooked on the outer rim of the big wheel. They will contain hotel guest rooms and recreational facilities for entertainment as well as a spa or gym.
Before they can get to the actual station, the company reportedly plans to build a "prototype" of Voyager Station's "gravity ring." OAC co-founder Jeff Greenblatt said in Space.com's report that the "gravity ring is going to be a key technology demonstration project that we plan to build, assemble and operate in low Earth orbit in just a few years' time."
If the concept images and videos look somewhat familiar, that's because Voyager will be designed using principles first set forth by space scientist Wernher von Braun, whose ideas also inspired the look of some spacecraft in Stanley Kubrick's great 1968 sci-fi epic, 2001: A Space Odyssey.
While details are still few, another OAC official stated that they aren't building with utilitarian-military use in mind, but for comfort. Still, the ultimate experience may be closer to what astronauts have been doing for decades, up and including private spacewalks.
Reserve some space on your bucket list for a stay on the space station before the decade is out.