19:14 GMT +317 February 2019
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    'Luxury space hotel' set to be launched by 2021

    Orion Span to Launch ‘Affordable Luxury Space Hotel' By Late 2021 (VIDEO)

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    Startup company Orion Span announced Thursday at the Space 2.0 Summit in San Jose, California, that it would be launching the "first-ever affordable luxury space hotel" by late 2021.

    If plans go well, officials expect to begin accommodating guests on the Aurora Station by 2022. Interested travelers can reserve a room for $80,000, but make note that those five digits are just a small down payment for a 12-day stay that carries a total price tag of $9.5 million.

    ​"There's been innovation around the architecture to make it more modular and more simple to use and have more automation, so we don't have to have [extravehicular activities] or spacewalks," Frank Bunger, the founder and CEO of Orion Span, told Space.com. "The goal when we started the company was to create that innovation to make simplicity possible and by making simplicity possible, we drive a tremendous amount of cost out of it."

    Though the $9.5 million seems hefty, it is much less than previously reported figures that ranged from $20 to $40 million per head.

    Richard Garriott, a video game developer who reportedly shelled out $30 million for a two-week stay at the ISS in 2008, told NBC News that Orion Span's initiative is critical for "both research and private use."

    "Seeing the Earth from orbit is a profoundly life-changing experience," Garriott told the publication. "You feel not only remote and isolated, but simultaneously strangely intimately close… You feel more deeply connected to the future of our fragile planet than ever before."

    According to the company, Aurora Station will measure 43.5 feet long by 14.1 feet wide and feature a pressurized volume of 5,650 cubic feet. The hotel will orbit at an altitude of 200 miles, which is 50 miles closer to the Earth than the International Space Station.

    In total, it can house four guests and two crewmembers, who will likely be former astronauts.

    But the station won't stay the same size forever, according to Bunger. Over time, the hotel will set up additional modules to meet what the growing demand the company anticipates.

    "Our long-term vision is to sell actual space in those new modules," Bunger told the website. "We're calling that a ‘space condo.' So, either for living or subleasing, that's the future vision here — to create a long-term, sustainable human habitation in [low Earth orbit]."

    The hotel is currently being built in Houston while its software is being developed in the San Francisco Bay area.


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    hotel, Space, Orion Span