Space tourism is a market with a bright future but which still largely remains to be cleared, giving rise to an exciting bubbling of ideas. It remains to find the funds to build the future orbital hotels…
A Californian start-up, Orbital Assembly Corporation, announced this week that its first space “hotel” called Pioneer will be operational from 2025. The station will be able to accommodate up to 28 tourists for two weeks, in a low-gravity environment (it will be possible to drink coffee from a cup and sleep without being tied to the bed).
The company is thinking even bigger with its Voyager station project, which is scheduled to open a few years later. 400 guests will admire our planet from its orbit! To quickly reach profitability, Orbital Assembly plans to set up a mix between tourism, scientific and commercial activity. These are great promising projects, but the date of 2025 seems extremely optimistic compared to NASA’s calendar.
The International Space Station (ISS), which hosts American and European astronauts, should indeed be replaced in 2030 by new orbital infrastructure. Last December, the American space agency distributed 415 million dollars to three companies (Blue Origin, Nanoracks and Northrop Grumman) to develop these stations intended for both scientific experiments and the reception of tourists.
This NASA initiative does not prevent other companies from launching an assault on space, even if they face astronomical costs for sending tourists, but also for the actual construction of their hotels. Orbital Assembly has already had to revise its plans, since the start-up announced that Voyager was to be operational in 2027. That will be much later, with Pioneer coming first.
It will nevertheless be necessary to attract financing: the company managed to raise a million dollars recently, enough to proceed with some hirings but it is largely insufficient to launch a station in space!