Well, if you’re planning a trip to Mars or any of the nearby planets with Elon Musk’s SpaceX, or future UAE space missions, you might want to reserve a low-Earth orbit room.
Your Milky Way Latte’ will be waiting.
Room with a galactic view
Business Insider reported that Billionaire hospitality mogul Robert Bigelow, owner of hotel chain Budget Suites of America, has officially launched a new spaceflight company called Bigelow Space Operations (BSO).
He is 72 now but his dream was born in 1999, when he launched Bigelow Aerospace, developing space hardware and builing a Module which NASA attached to the International Space Station in 2016.
“In 2021, BSO plans to launch two 55-foot-long inflatable modules, called B330-1 and B330-2, that link together to form a private space station,” said BI.
“The new company wants to sell time aboard to countries in need of orbital laboratory space, as well as multi-million-dollar reservations to tourists seeking the trip (and hotel stay) of a lifetime.”
You heard right.
This is a permanent hotel stay with a billion-star room service, all the way, everyday.
“These single structures that house humans on a permanent basis will be the largest, most complex structures ever known as stations for human use in space,” the company said in a press release.
BSO will market its services in low-Earth orbit — a zone about 250 miles above Earth — to nations, corporations, and space tourists.
“Bigelow’s B330 space station modules can hold about six people. They would launch in a folded-up state, then be inflated with breathable air once deployed into orbit. Their thick white shields, made of impact-absorbing materials, would protect against space debris and radiation.”
SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy is arguably the most powerful operational launcher in the world following its successful test, which was 4 times cheaper than NASA or other space programs.
“Depending on the prices that SpaceX and other companies charge for flights, the per-passenger cost could be in the “low seven figures” though most likely in the “low eight figures,” BI quoted Bigelow as saying.
“We will spend millions of dollars this year to drill down on a conclusion as to what the global space market is going to look like,” Bigelow said. “When we look at what is the commercial picture, as far as humans’ use of space today, it’s a whole lot different than it was 10 years ago,” CNBC reported Bigelow as adding.
CNBC said that Bigelow “applauds” the Trump administration’s “focus on commercial partnerships for low-Earth orbit” after it announced plans on Feb. 12 to end NASA’s funding of the International Space Station in 2025 and begin a new $150 million program to build commercial platforms in orbit.
Where the UAE in all this?
The UAE announced plans to launch its first mission to Mars by 2021, and create human habitats there in about a century from now, and has so far $5.4bn towards those ends.
“We want to create our own missions and develop our own satellites,” said Salem Humaid AlMarri, assistant director general for science and technology at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center in Dubai.
CNN Money reported that UAE’s the top priority is to send a home grown satellite into space by the end of 2018.
“KhalifaSat was developed in Dubai. It was recently flown to South Korea where it will undergo final testing before heading to Japan for launch,” said CNN.
“The UAE has launched satellites before — in 2009 and 2013 — but they were developed with South Korean partners. Back then it was hard to recruit local engineers,” AlMarri told CNN Money.
A UAE spacecraft, named “Hope Mars Probe” is set to orbit Mars in 2020, and reach the planet by 2021 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the founding of the UAE.
“The UAE also wants to send its citizens into space. More than 3,000 people, aged between 17 and 67, have applied for its astronaut program — 25% are women and the majority are science, technology, engineering or mathematics graduates,” said CNN.
For the 2117 human settlement Mars project, Dubai is already constructing a Mars City to simulate life on the planet, the first phase of which will be completed by 2020.
Musk has previously laid out plans to colonize the red planet in 50 to 150 years.