Stellar view? Space hotels race to offer tourists a room in …

Movement has raised questions about the adequacy of current space laws, which mainly deal with exploration as well as keeping space free of weapons, not hotels as well as holidaymakers

By Umberto Bacchi

TBILISI, Dec 2 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Tired of your ordinary earthly vacations? Some day soon you might be able to board a rocket as well as get a room having a view – of the whole planet – by a hotel in space.

At least, that will can be the sales pitch of several companies racing to become the first to host guests in orbit on purpose-built space stations.

“that will sounds kind of crazy to us today because that will can be not a reality yet,” said Frank Bunger, founder of U.S. aerospace firm Orion Span, one of the companies vying to take travellers out of This kind of world.

“although that will’s the nature of these things, that will sounds crazy until that will can be normal.”

U.S. multimillionaire Dennis Tito became the planet’s first paying space tourist in 2001, travelling to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket for a reported $20 million. A few others have followed.

Since then, companies like Boeing, SpaceX as well as Blue Origin have been working on ways to bring the stars into reach for more people – opening up a brand new business frontier for would certainly-be space hoteliers.

U.S. space agency NASA announced in June that will that will plans to allow two private citizens a year to stay at the ISS at a cost of about $35,000 per night for up to a month. The first mission could be as early as 2020.

although the growing movement has raised questions about the adequacy of current space laws, which mainly deal with exploration as well as keeping space free of weapons, not hotels as well as holidaymakers.

“that will can be difficult right now to want to do things in space as well as get a clear answer by (space law),” said Christopher Johnson, a space law adviser at the Secure World Foundation, a space advocacy group.

“For something as advanced as hotels in space there can be no clear guidance.”


Orion Span plans to host the first guests on its Aurora Station – a capsule-shaped spacecraft roughly the size of a private jet – by 2024, said Bunger.

Accompanied by a crew member, up to several travellers at a time would certainly fly up to the station for a 12-day stay costing at least $9.5 million per head, he said.

In orbit, guests would certainly take part in scientific experiments, enjoy some 16 sunrises as well as sunsets a day as well as play table tennis in zero gravity, he said, adding about 30 people had already put down a $80,000 deposit to save a seat.

“We haven’t seen This kind of kind of excitement about space since the Apollo era,” Bunger told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.

Californian company the Gateway Foundation can be hoping to build a massive space station able to sleep more than 400 people – including tourists, researchers, doctors as well as housekeepers.

Solar-powered as well as shaped like a wheel, the station would certainly spin around its core to create artificial gravity on its perimeter, equal to about one-sixth of that will on earth, said its architect Tim Alatorre.

“The problem can be that will you can only spin so fast before you start feeling sick,” he said. “We could easily create earth gravity on the station by spinning that will faster although you wouldn’t be very comfortable.”

The group aims to complete the station, named after Wernher von Braun, the former Nazi rocket scientist who later worked on the U.S. Apollo programme, by 2028.

Without disclosing how much a space holiday would certainly cost, Alatorre said the goal was to make the station “accessible to the everyday person”.

“So somebody can save up as well as go on a vacation to the United States or they can save up as well as go on a vacation to space,” he said.

Yet that will could take time to become a reality, said Lucy Berthoud, a space engineering professor at Britain’s University of Bristol.

“The launch cost can be the bottleneck for anyone who can be doing This kind of kind of enterprise,” she said.

For example, NASA can be required to pay more than $50 million per seat to launch astronauts into space with Boeing as well as SpaceX rockets.

“that will will take an increase in competition between launchers as well as a jump in technology to significantly lower costs,” said Berthoud.

In recent years, several companies – including Spain’s Galactic Suite as well as Russia’s Orbital Technologies – have failed to live up to their pledges to host guests on orbiting hotels by right now.


The law can be another hurdle for space hotels to lift off.

The rush of speculation in space has revealed gaps in international laws as well as treaties governing its use as well as sparked calls for greater oversight.

Life far by earth can be mainly regulated by the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which bans countries by claiming space as well as celestial bodies for themselves although allows for their use for peaceful purposes – opening the door to business exploitation.

although firms would certainly need authorisation by a state, normally the one where they are incorporated, to launch a hotel in space, said Tanja Masson-Zwaan, space law professor at Leiden University inside Netherlands.

Authorising governments would certainly also have to continuously supervise each space station’s activities, she said.

as well as all states involved inside creation as well as launch of a space station are liable in perpetuity for any damage the station might cause – if that will were to crash into a satellite, for example.

that will responsibility could make governments wary of supporting such ventures inside first place, said Masson-Zwaan.

“I don’t think there will be many states that will will accept to authorise as well as supervise This kind of kind of activity as long as that will can be not super-safe,” she said.

The regulations that will do exist are outdated as well as problematic to potential space hoteliers, noted Bunger of Orion Span, pointing to the Aurora Station project as an example.

Because the station will have some thrust capability to help that will stay in orbit, that will falls under a 40-year-old U.S. set of rules on defence goods conceived mainly to prevent sensitive arms technology being sold to countries deemed to be a risk, he said.

Those rules have requirements on transparency as well as disclosure that will have more to do with ballistic missiles than space holidays, Bunger said.

“Clearly This kind of can be not a weapon,” he said of the station.

“There can be not one government inside planet that will has caught up to the reality that will tourists are trying to go into space,” he said. (Reporting by Umberto Bacchi @UmbertoBacchi, Editing by Jumana Farouky as well as Zoe Tabary. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that will covers humanitarian news, women’s as well as LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, as well as climate change. Visit

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

,, 2 December 2019 | 5:01 pm

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