Hilton Hotels is designing luxurious astronaut suites inside an inflatable space habitat
Hilton Hotels has signed on to design the crew lodging and hospitality suites at Starlab, one of three stations in the works to replace the International Space Station (ISS), which is due to retire no earlier than 2031.
The partnership is with Voyager, which has set out to construct a large inflatable habitat to launch in 2027 – and it’s using $130 million from NASA to make it happen.
However, the announcement does not reveal details about the rooms, but states that Hilton’s suites will make ‘extended stays more comfortable’.
This would be a big change from the living quarters on the ISS, which are said to be as cozy as a five-bedroom house. However, it can sometimes house 13 crew members and large amounts of equipment, making it feel more like an overcrowded space.
Starlab is one of three commercial space stations to replace NASA’s International Space Station
Dylan Taylor, Chairman and CEO, Voyager Space, said in a announcement: ‘Starlab will be more than just a destination, it will be an experience made infinitely more unique and artful with the Hilton team’s infusion of innovation, expertise and global reach.
“Voyager and Hilton are acutely focused on creating innovative solutions for the future of humanity, and this partnership opens new doors to what is possible for comfort-focused space exploration and habitation.”
Voyager, which was awarded $160 million by NASA, is up against the Blue Origin-led project called Orbital and a Northrup Grumman platform based on its Cygnus spacecraft.
The space station will be a large circle and rotate to generate artificial gravity that will be set at a level similar to the gravity found on the surface of the moon. Voyager released this image last year, but it could be the future suites on the station
Starlab was designed by Voyager, who partnered with the Hilton Hotel to create living quarters that make extended stays in space more comfortable
Blue Origin received $130 million and Northup Brumman $125.6 million.
All three hope to be operational by the middle of this decade, with NASA as the customer, but the bulk of the funding from commercial sources.
The selected station will be used by NASA and other government agencies as well as private sector customers, including for tourism.
Chris Nassetta, president and CEO of Hilton, said in a statement: “Hilton has been innovating to enhance the guest experience and pioneering new travel destinations for more than a century. We are excited to partner with Voyager to bring this expertise to Starlab.
‘For decades, discoveries in space have had a positive impact on life on Earth, and now Hilton will have the opportunity to use this unique environment to enhance the guest experience wherever people travel.
“This landmark collaboration underscores our deep commitment to spreading the light and warmth of hospitality and providing a friendly, reliable stay—whether on Earth or in outer space.”
Voyager and Hilton will collaborate in the fields of architecture and design, leveraging Hilton’s world-class creative design and innovation experts to develop the Space Hospitality crew headquarters aboard Starlab, including common areas, hospitality suites and sleeping arrangements for the astronauts.
In addition, the teams will seek to explore opportunities together for long-term efforts, including the Earth-to-space astronaut experience, global co-marketing and branding, and other tourism, educational and commercial efforts.
Voyager, which was awarded $160 million by NASA, is up against the Blue Origin-led project called Orbital (pictured)
A Northrup Grumman platform based on its Cygnus spacecraft is also under development
Scheduled to launch by 2027 on a single flight, Starlab will be a ‘continuously manned, commercial space station dedicated to conducting advanced research and promoting commercial industrial activity.’
The habitat is designed for four astronauts and will have power, volume and a payload capacity equivalent to the International Space Station.
The basic elements of the Starlab space station include a large inflatable habitat designed and built by Lockheed Martin, a metallic docking node, a power and propulsion element, a large robotic arm for servicing cargo and payloads, and the George Washington Carver (GWC) Science Park .
The GWC Science Park is a state-of-the-art laboratory system that will host a comprehensive research, science and manufacturing capability.
“Starlab is the confluence of Lockheed Martin’s rich space expertise and history, Nanoracks’ innovation and Voyager’s financial expertise,” said Lisa Callahan of Lockheed Martin.
“This team is equipped to assist NASA in their mission to expand access to LEO and enable a transformative commercial space economy.”
Blue Origin Orbital Reef is being designed to be a ‘mixed-use business park’ that provides essential infrastructure needed to support all types of human spaceflight activity in low Earth orbit and can be scaled to serve new markets, according to the group.
Northrop Grumman has not yet named its upcoming space station, but says it is designed to be a modular, commercial destination in low Earth orbit.
The design utilizes flight-proven elements such as the Cygnus spacecraft, which delivers cargo to the International Space Station and will be able to support four crew members at any one time.
EXPLAINED: THE $100 BILLION INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION IS 250 MILES ABOVE EARTH
The International Space Station (ISS) is a $100 billion (£80 billion) science and engineering laboratory orbiting 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.
It has been permanently manned by rotating crews of astronauts and cosmonauts since November 2000.
Crews have come mainly from the United States and Russia, but the Japanese space agency JAXA and the European Space Agency ESA have also sent astronauts.
The International Space Station has been continuously occupied for more than 20 years and has been used with several new modules added and upgrades to systems
Research conducted aboard the ISS often requires one or more of the unusual conditions present in low Earth orbit, such as low gravity or oxygen.
ISS studies have explored human research, space medicine, life sciences, physical sciences, astronomy and meteorology.
The US space agency, NASA, spends around $3bn (£2.4bn) a year on the space station programme, with the remaining funding coming from international partners including Europe, Russia and Japan.
So far, 244 people from 19 countries have visited the station, and among them eight private citizens who spent up to 50 million dollars for their visit.
There is an ongoing debate about the future of the station after 2025, when it is assumed that some of the original structure will reach ‘end of life’.
Russia, a major partner in the station, plans to launch its own orbital platform around the time that Axiom Space, a private company, plans to send its own modules for purely commercial use to the station at the same time.
NASA, ESA, JAXA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) are working together to build a space station in orbit around the moon, and Russia and China are working on a similar project that would also include a base on the surface.