Story at a glance
- Space travel has become increasingly privatized in recent years as companies race to take the first civilians to space.
- A California company is planning to build the first commercial space construction project in history.
- Part of its plan includes a low Earth orbit cruise ship operated as a hotel.
So you get to outer space. Then what? Where do you go? Where do you stay?
A California company is joining the race to build the first commercial space construction project with plans for a grand opening in 2022.
"You could call it a destination hotel, a low Earth orbit cruise ship, or a city in space with a spaceport. But the best way to understand this complex piece of infrastructure is to look to its namesake: The Gateway," says the foundation website.
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The Von Braun station is named for Wernher von Braun, a German aerospace engineer who pioneered rocket technology — for the Nazi rocket development program — before working on the United States's Apollo space program. Despite the controversial history, his designs from more than half a century ago are the inspiration for the hotel, Tim Alatorre, senior design architect at the Gateway Foundation told CNN Travel, although with modern materials and technology.
"The station rotates, pushing the contents of the station out to the perimeter of the station, much in the way that you can spin a bucket of water -- the water pushes out into the bucket and stays in place," Alatorre told CNN. "The basic physics of the station haven't changed since the 1950s, the way the station rotates."
Of course, first you’ll have to get there — via a 24-hour trip. For that, the company is also planning to build the Voyager Class Station, a terminal for spacecraft that will also house employees, scientists and tourists. It's not going to be cheap, but the company is ambitious, hoping to sleep 352 people with a maximum capacity of 450 at the cost of "a trip on a cruise or a trip to Disneyland."
"Humankind will return to the Moon. We will colonize Mars and mine the asteroid belt. We will walk on Europa, Io, and later Titan, but before we do any of that – we will build The Gateway," says the Gateway Foundation on its website.
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