The date has been set for every sci-fi fan’s dream, to vacation in outer space. The Gateway Foundation, a private organization specialized in creating space stations, predicts that its first space hotel will open its doors in 2025.
That date came from Tim Alatorre, senior design architect of the Von Braun Space Station, in an interview for Dazeen online magazine. “[…We] have had a transient and limited presence in space by a small number of specialists for over 58 years. We want to change that and open up space to anyone who wishes to work or live in space,” Alatorre said.
The Wheel Goes Round and Round
Von Braun is the first space station prototype that the Gateway Foundation plans to build. Its name pays tribute to German aerospace engineer Wernher von Braun. He was the first to propose a space station in the shape of a wheel or torus, the rotation of which would generate its own artificial gravity. Von Braun’s idea inspired artists such as Walt Disney, Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick, whom incorporated their concept into their futuristic-themed projects.
The design of Von Braun Station resembles a spoked bicycle wheel with a 190-meter diameter and 24 individual modules surrounding the main ring. Von Braun will incorporate technologies currently implemented on the International Space Station (ISS).
The Von Braun Space Hotel
The modules on the Von Braun station will serve needs of air purification, facility operation, as well as scientific, tourism, residential and business initiatives. Von Braun Hotel will have restaurants, bars, concert areas, cinemas, gyms, conference spaces and other amenities similar to those on a cruise ship.
Alatorre explained that the Gateway Foundation intends to have Von Braun operational by 2025, receiving 100 visitors every week. Tourism is part of the financial plan to sustain the project.
Eventually, going to space will just be another option people will pick for their vacation, just like going on a cruise, or going to Disney World,” Alatorre said. “Because the overall costs are still so high most people assume that space tourism will only be available to the super rich, and while I think this will be true for the next several years, the Gateway Foundation has a goal of making space travel open to everyone.”
The Gateway: The Next Step
Should it come into existence, Von Braun Space Station would be one of humanity’s greatest achievements and an incomparable tourist experience. However, for the Gateway Foundation it will just be the first step. Everything the Foundation learns with the construction and maintenance of Von Braun Space Station will be implemented in The Gateway Spaceport, their following project.
That ambitious structure, measuring nearly 500 meters in diameter, is intended to serve as humanity’s geatway to space, hence the name. While Von Braun would house approximately 400 people, Gateway could fit 1,400 in its central Lunar Gravity Area (LGA) alone. Gateway will have all of Von Braun’s features within expanded spaces, plus a docking bay for space vessels and a ring-shaped Martian Gravity Area (MGA).
“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,” according to the Gateway Foundation’s official website.
For those interested in helping make Von Braun and Gateway a reality, the Foundation offers membership plans as part of its fundraising campaign, which also includes a lottery. Those without patience or who cannot go to space for whatever reason, will soon have a virtual alternative at Disney parks.