Fancy a holiday to space? Course you do, you’re human and getting as far away from this place seems like the only rational thing to do right now.
And it seems like we’re in luck, as the Gateway Foundation are currently designing the world’s first commercial space hotel.
A cross between a luxury cruise liner and Discovery One from 2001: A Space Odyssey, the hotel, dubbed the Von Braun Space Station, aims to make visiting space available to everyone, and will feature bars, restaurants, a host of activities and even it’s own gravitational force to stop people floating away.
As well as the usual hotel stuff, there’ll be low-gravity sports like trampolining, basketball and rock climbing. The company behind it want the hotel to be open by 2025, and aim to have 100 visitors per week.
Tim Alatorre, senior design architect of the Von Braun Space Station, told architecture and design magazine Dezeen:
Eventually, going to space will just be another option people will pick for their vacation, just like going on a cruise, or going to Disney World.
Because the overall costs are still so high most people assume that space tourism will only be available to the super rich, and while I think this will be true for the next several years, the Gateway Foundation has a goal of making space travel open to everyone.
The hotel will reportedly build on technology currently used at the International Space Station, though the space hotel plans to incorporate its own artificial gravity to make visiting and long-term habitation more comfortable. The gravity will be achieved by the hotel’s rotating, circular design.
The hotel will be a 190-metre-diameter wheel, which will rotate to create a gravitational force similar to that of the moon. Around the outside will be 24 individual modules for sleeping.
There will also be many of the things you see on cruise ships: restaurants, bars, musical concerts, movie screenings, and educational seminars.
According to the designer, some modules will be sold as private residences, and others will be used for scientific purposes. The foundation expects the population of the new station to be around 400.
The team also plan to make the hotel more comfortable than the harsh, futuristic interior design used in movies.
As Alatorre said:
In the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick’s Space Station 5 is a sterile, white, museum-like hotel.
While it made for a clearly futuristic feeling in the movie, in reality, it wasn’t a very inviting space. As humans, we innately connect to natural materials and colours.
While natural materials we use down here on Earth, such as stone and wood, are the go-to materials, the Gateway Foundation are looking at substitutes, to give the hotel a more homely decor that’s still practical in space.
Developments in material science now allow for lightweight, easily cleanable natural material substitutes for stone and wood that would normally not be feasible to bring into orbit.
The use of fabrics, warm-coloured lighting and paints, and materials with texture, all help us to connect and feel at home. Because the station will have gravity there will be sense of direction and orientation that isn’t present in the ISS.
Don’t worry about those little astronaut meals in vacuum-packed bags either, as full-service kitchens are planned for the hotel, with the logistical issues ‘worked out years ago’ by the cruise ship industry, including toilets and showers, you’ll be pleased to know.
As well as the hotel, the foundation are looking at further possibilities of space habitation, and have plans for a station called The Gateway, which will house over 1,400 people, with a view to developing cities and ports in space.
See you there.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.