Room with a view: first hotel in space to cost €640,000 a night
In one giant leap for luxury travel, a US entrepreneur has launched plans to build the first hotel in space - and reservations are already open.
For $80,000 (€65,000) apiece, would-be astronauts can get onto the waiting list for the Aurora Station, a modular space station being developed by Houston-based company Orion Span. The hotel is expected to welcome its first guests in 2022 - although the hefty deposit is fully refundable, should plans get put on hold.
In all, prices will start from $9.5m (€7.7m) per person for a 12-day stay in zero gravity - or $790,000 (€640,000) per night - orbiting at 300km above Earth's surface.
Following a three-month training programme to prepare for the experience, up to four guests at a time will be sent into low Earth orbit accompanied by two crew members.
The station will complete its orbit every 90 minutes, affording views of 16 sunrises and sunsets in 24 hours, as well as glimpses of the northern and southern auroras.
Aurora Station will be able to accommodate four guests and two crew members.
Guests will also take part in research experiments on the station such as investigating methods of propagating food in space (the results can be taken home as souvenirs).
Further features include a "holodeck" offering a virtual reality experience and high-speed wi-fi in case you want to stay in touch with family and friends (or browse the internet).
"We developed Aurora Station to provide a turnkey destination in space," said Frank Bunger, CEO and founder of Orion Span. "Upon launch, Aurora Station will go into service immediately, bringing travellers into space quicker and at a lower price point than ever seen before, while still providing an unforgettable experience."
Mr Bunger is confident there is a future in space real estate, and has announced plans to use the station as a springboard for dedicated modules to be sent up and sold as "the first condominiums in space".