Work is due to start on the world’s first ‘space hotel’ in low Earth orbit in 2025 – and it will come equipped with restaurants, a cinema, spa and rooms for 400 people.
Developed by the Orbital Assembly Corporation (OAC), the Voyager Station could be operational as early as 2027, with the infrastructure built in orbit around the Earth.
The space station will be a large circle and rotate to generate artificial gravity that will be set at a similar level to the gravity found on the surface of the Moon.
Voyager Station’s hotel will include many of the features you might expect from a cruise ship, including themed restaurants, a health spa and a cinema.
It will feature a series of pods attached to the outside of the rotating ring and some of these pods could be sold to the likes of NASA and ESA for space research.
No details of cost to build the space station, or the cost of spending a night in the hotel have been revealed, although OAC say build costs are getting cheaper thanks to reusable launch vehicles like the SpaceX Falcon 9 and the future Starship.
Voyager station: a space hotel built on rings
The Voyager space station will be rotating to produce Moon-level artificial gravity.
There will be an inner ‘docking ring’ which is un-pressurised to allow ships to unload passengers and cargo.
There will then be a habitation ring which will include a number of modules along the outer edge. This includes a gym, kitchen, restaurant, bar and crew quarters.
Other modules will be privately or government owned, including villas, hotels or commercial activity zones.
They will also include a gym, kitchen, restaurant, bar and other essential facilities for people due to be on the station longer term.
The other modules will be leased or sold to private companies and governments.
Government agencies could use the station to house their own science module or as a training centre for astronauts preparing to go to Mars.
The idea of an orbiting space station build around a central, circular wheel goes back to the earliest days of space travel, in an idea by Wernher von Braun.
He was one of the architects of the NASA Apollo programme and in the 1950s proposed a wheel-shaped habitat spinning to create artificial gravity.
The concept for the Voyager station, which is a similar idea but on a much larger scale, first came about in 2012 with the launch of the Gateway Foundation.
OAC, the firm established by the foundation to realise the vision of an orbiting station, was established in 2018 with the goal of it being operational by 2027.