Space travel has always attracted a sense of romance and danger with the moon landing showing exactly what can be done. We have seen companies selling areas of the moon, rocks from outer space but very soon we could have the first “space hotel”, space real estate is upon us!
When you bear in mind the cost of a hotel on the earth, what price a hotel orbiting the moon!
Bigelow Aerospace has great plans
Las Vegas-based space pod company Bigelow Aerospace has been working on inflatable accommodation suitable for outerspace since 1999. These “expandable space modules” are the brainchild of Robert Bigelow who has made great strides in the world of outerspace real estate. While the company has already attached a soft shell demo pod to the international space station, in conjunction with NASA, this received very little in the way of media coverage.
The idea is that these “inflatable space hotels” will be used as accommodation for astronauts and space travelling citizens of the earth. The demo version is attached to the international space station and while not yet being used for accommodation, it has been used to run a number of tests and will likely be used for storage in the future.
Building a space hotel
When it comes to hotels Robert Bigelow is no novice as he owns the Budget Suites of America hotel chain. He already has a joint venture partner to launch his moon orbiting space hotel in the shape of Boeing and Lockheed Martin. While we have no definite date for take-off, the “blow-up hotel” will eventually be launched into orbit around the moon. While it will only be able to accommodate six people we already know from the international space station test that the material is extremely sturdy, helps to combat radiation and is safe. Perhaps the term “blow-up hotel” gives the idea of a bouncy castle when this could not be further from the truth!
A $2.3 billion project
Over the last 20 years or so the US government has been winding down its space exploration programme due to a number of setbacks. The situation is certainly changing under Donald Trump’s presidency with significant investment already put aside for space travel. The launch of the “space hotel” would seem to be perfect timing with the US government looking to create a stop off point at the moon. This would allow astronauts to re-energise on long-range missions to the likes of Mars which will prove invaluable.
We know that Bigelow Aerospace and its joint venture partners are investing cold hard cash and it looks as though NASA will also follow suit. Interestingly, the two-year trial of the space hotel pod is likely to be extended and the additional capacity used for future storage.
What price space real estate?
With an estimated project cost of $2.3 billion the Bigelow Aerospace space hotel pod will be the most expensive hotel ever. The accommodation has capacity for six individuals which works out at a staggering $383 million per guest. Quite what the room service will be like in this space age hotel is anybody’s guess!