CNN

Designs revealed for incredible new space hotel

Sep 16, 2019, 6:12 AM

(CNN) — It’s 50 years since man first stepped on the moon, and we’re still harboring dreams of escaping life on Earth for the mysteries of space.

If a career as an astronaut isn’t for you, perhaps the promise of a sojourn in a space hotel might be appealing.

Californian company The Gateway Foundation has released plans for the Von Braun Station, a cruise ship-style hotel floating among the stars.

The aim is to get the hotel off the ground by 2025 and make it fully operational for travel by 2027.

The Von Braun station is just one such space-based tourism option in development. Also planning to propel people into space are Virgin Galactic, Elon Musk’s SpaceX company and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin aerospace company, not to mention the International Space Station — which recently announced the possibility of commercial collaborations.

The Von Braun Station is also not the only space hotel design in the works. Earlier in 2019, US-based space tech startup Orion Span released plans for a luxury space hotel called Aurora Station, which it hopes to launch in 2022.

Among the stars

According to digitally rendered video and images released by the Gateway Foundation, the station resembles a rotating wheel, comprised of 24 modules, orbiting the Earth.

But how would the physics of the hotel work?

Tim Alatorre, senior design architect at the Gateway Foundation, says the rotating wheel would create a simulated gravity.

“The station rotates, pushing the contents of the station out to the perimeter of the station, much in the way that you can spin a bucket of water — the water pushes out into the bucket and stays in place,” he tells CNN Travel.

Near the center of the station there’s no artificial gravity, Alatorre says, but as you move down the outside of the station, the feeling of gravity increases.

The Gateway Foundation’s hotel design is named for Wernher von Braun, an aerospace engineer who pioneered rocket technology, first in Germany and later in the United States.

This could be viewed as a controversial move. While living in Germany, von Braun was involved in the Nazi rocket development program. He later worked on the Apollo space program in the United States.

The name was voted for by the Gateway Foundation members because the station is based on designs von Braun sketched out some 60 years ago.

“The basic physics of the station haven’t changed since the 1950s, the way the station rotates,” says Alatorre.

The main difference is the modern materials — new metal alloys, carbon composites, 3D printing and launch pad technology that, says Alatorre, make a space hotel more probable in our current era.

Space tourism is an expensive game — Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic plans to launch passengers into sub-orbital space at the hefty sum of $250,000 per person, per trip.

Meanwhile, Aurora Station says a stay in its space hotel will cost an eyewatering $9.5 million.

Price wise, in the early phases the Von Braun hotel will also be catering to those with dollars to spend, but the foundation is hoping to make it equivalent to “a trip on a cruise or a trip to Disneyland.”

Aurora Station aims to sleep just 12, whereas the Von Braun Station will sleep 352 people with a maximum capacity of 450.

Warm aesthetic

So what will Von Braun Station be like inside?

Alatorre says the hotel’s aesthetic was a direct response to the Stanley Kubrick movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” — just maybe not in the way you might think.

“It was almost a blueprint of what not to do,” says Alatorre. “I think the goal of Stanley Kubrick was to highlight the divide between technology and humanity and so, purposefully, he made the stations and the ships very sterile and clean and alien.”

Instead, Alatorre wanted to bring a slice of earth to space, to avoid a laboratorial, overly Star Trek-esque feel.

On board, there’ll be warm suites with carpets and stylish monochrome touches and chic bars that wouldn’t look out of place back on Earth, just with star-gazing views.

There will also be plenty of fun recreational activities for guest to enjoy, says Alatorre.

“We’re going to have a number of different recreation activities and games that’ll highlight the fact that you’re able to do things that you can’t do on Earth,” he says. “Because of the weightlessness and the reduced gravity, you’ll be able to jump higher, be able to lift things, be able to run in ways that you can’t on Earth.”

A sport that’s intriguingly called “supersize basketball” is one such concept, according to Alatorre.

‘Starship culture’

If it all sounds like a space-age gimmick, Alatorre is emphatic that the concept will have widespread, enduring appeal.

“People will want to go and experience this just because it’s a cool new thing and they’ve never done it before,” he admits.

“But our goal — the overall goal of the Gateway Foundation — is to create a starship culture where people are going to space, and living in space, and working in space and they want to be in space. And we believe that there’s a demand for that.”

That means having space be a place where thousands of people are “living, working and thriving.”

The Gateway Foundation also intends the space station to be used for research purposes, as well as asteroid mining.

Alatorre says the Von Braun hotel wants to be “the first in orbit,” but that even if the Gateway Foundation doesn’t launch by 2025, the company knows one of its competitors will.

Space tourism is the future, he says, and the Gateway Foundation believe that future’s imminent.

Sustainability in space

Given the design is still exactly that — just a design — there are some questions that remain unanswered about how the space hotel will function in actuality.

For example, it’s been suggested that living in low gravity for an extended period of time is damaging to the human body. While vacationers will probably only visit the hotel for a few weeks, staff will plan to be there for six months to a year.

They’ll adjust schedules as needed, says Alatorre, but right now, the foundation thinks this proposition would be “perfectly safe.”

There’s also the sustainability question, as people look for more eco-friendly vacations, surely going to space is not the solution?

Alatorre points to SpaceX’s Raptor engine, which uses methane instead of petrol-based fuel, suggesting “eco-friendly” rocket designs are the future.

He says recycling will be woven into the fabric of the space hotel.

“On the station itself, it’s going to be about the most environmentally friendly vacation you’ll ever have. Because we’re recycling everything,” says Alatorre.

“There’s no amount of water or trash or waste that is going to be discarded, everything will be recycled, reused, stored, converted to some other form.”

Terrestrial construction on the Gateway Foundation’s project is set to begin October 1, 2019.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2019 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Today’s Top Stories

CNN

The National Archives has told the House Oversight Committee that certain presidential records from...
Whitney Wild and Katelyn Polantz, CNN

National Archives says it still doesn’t have all Trump White House records

The National Archives has told the House Oversight Committee that certain presidential records from the Trump administration remain outstanding, citing information that some White House staff used non-official electronic systems to conduct official business.
19 hours ago
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin extremism...
Ellie Kaufman, CNN

Defense secretary condemns ‘nuclear saber-rattling’ but says he doesn’t believe Putin has decided to use nuclear weapons

While U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin hasn't seen anything to suggest Russia has decided to use nuclear weapons, he did condemn nuclear saber-rattling
19 hours ago
Hurricane Ian survivor Hope Labriola waited for help as her home filled with water. Photo credit: H...
Caroll Alvarado, CNN

‘I can’t do this’: Fort Myers Beach woman calls for help as Hurricane Ian’s storm surge floods her home

A Fort Myers Beach woman called for help as the storm surge from Hurricane Ian.
19 hours ago
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a Security Council meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow,...
Joshua Berlinger, CNN

Putin announces Russia will annex four regions of Ukraine

The annexation announcement follows so-called referendums in the regions that were universally dismissed as "a sham" by Ukraine and Western nations.
2 days ago
A service member of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic walks past a banner on the doors ...
Anna Chernova, Joshua Berlinger and Rob Picheta, CNN

Putin to host ceremony annexing occupied Ukrainian territories on Friday, Kremlin says

Some of the separatist leaders involved in carrying out sham referendums to secede from Ukraine and join Russia landed in Moscow Thursday, according to a photograph posted by the Russia-appointed deputy head of the Kherson regional military administration Kirill Stremousov.
3 days ago
Coolio, the '90s rapper who lit up the music charts with hits like "Gangsta's Paradise" and "Fantas...
Sandra Gonzalez, CNN

Coolio, ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ rapper, dead at 59

(CNN) — Coolio, the ’90s rapper who lit up the music charts with hits like “Gangsta’s Paradise” and “Fantastic Voyage,” has died, his friend and manager Jarez Posey, told CNN. He was 59. Posey said Coolio died in the afternoon hours local time in Los Angles on Wednesday. Details on the circumstances were not immediately […]
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Designs revealed for incredible new space hotel