Where on Earth should you go for your next vacation? How about as far from Earth as possible?
Come 2025, you’ll be able to board a starship that will take you to a “space hotel” — or, more precisely, a giant space station orbiting your home planet. Named the Von Braun Rotating Space Station (after one of the chief architects of NASA’s Apollo program), it was designed by the Gateway Foundation, a startup out of Alta Loma, California.
Von Braun’s senior designer, Tim Alatorre, says by the time Von Braun opens for business, traveling to the stars will be commonplace.
“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,” said Tim Alatorre, senior design architect of the space station, in a conversation with Dezeen. “The goal of the Gateway Foundation is to have the Von Braun operational by 2025 with 100 tourists visiting the station per week.”
The Von Braun will essentially be a massive wheel that rotates to create gravitational force. If you go, you’ll stay in one of 24 modules (or hotel rooms) and enjoy an impressive view of outer space and Earth. Plus, you’ll enjoy everything from restaurants, bars and gyms to sports and concert arenas, all within the comfort of artificial gravity.
Speaking of gravity, it won’t be the kind you’re used to. The Von Braun’s gravitational pull will equal 1/6th of the Earth’s. That’s just enough for you to go about your daily business without incident.
“Guests will be able to eat, exercise, shower and use the bathroom much as they would back on Earth,” says NBC News. “But since it will be much weaker than gravity on Earth, guests would be able to enjoy some activities that would be impossible on terra firma.”
“We’re imagining supersized basketball events where you’re running up and down walls,” said Alatorre.
Of course, you’ll have to be part of the 1% in order to afford a trip to Von Braun. Although the Gateway Foundation has not said what a stay in their space station will cost, it’s safe to say it’ll be astronomical. Orion Span, designers of the yet-to-be-built Aurora Space Station, says a 12-day stay will cost $9.5 million.
“NASA says guests will spend $35,000 a night on the [International Space Station when it opens for tourists in 2020],” says NBC News. “Not too bad until you consider that transportation costs could run millions more.”
And cost isn’t the only thing that’s scary about a space station vacation. There’s also the little matter of safety. NBC points out that even a tiny piece of debris can cause major damage to a spacecraft, and that “it’s not clear how much risk guests at a space hotel would, or should, accept.”
Alatorre says the Von Braun will have protective shielding and emergency bulkheads. He adds that, if the station was in the path of large debris, it could be steered away to safety.