Space hotels might seem like a sci-fi fantasy, but they’re very much on their way to becoming a reality. Hilton has become the official hotel partner of Voyager Space, which intends to build and operate a private space station in low-Earth orbit (LEO) called Starlab. By Stefanie Waldek
Hilton, in fact, is not a total stranger to space. In 2020, it became the first hospitality brand to participate in research aboard the International Space Station (ISS) — astronauts used the world’s first space oven to bake the famous DoubleTree by Hilton cookies while in orbit. The cookies became the first food baked in space.
But the Starlab project is substantially more monumental, though it’s far from being a true space hotel.
Everything we know about the space hotel by Hilton
Starlab is one of four private space stations under development through NASA’s Commercial LEO Destinations Program, which is seeking replacements for the ISS after it’s decommissioned in 2030. NASA’s ultimate goal for the program is for private companies to launch LEO space stations from which it can purchase services. (It’s similar to how NASA buys rocket launches from SpaceX for its astronauts.)
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In 2021, NASA awarded Voyager Space’s parent company, NanoRacks, USD 160 million (INR 12,78,66,40,000) to develop Starlab, which will be home to the George Washington Carver (GWC) Science Park, an in-orbit laboratory. It was the largest grant in the program.
Hilton’s part of the project will revolve around crew accommodations and communal spaces — Starlab will have room for up to four astronauts at a time. And while Starlab will likely be used by professional astronauts at first, the idea of space tourism isn’t out of the question.
“For decades, discoveries in space have been positively impacting life on Earth, and now Hilton will have an opportunity to use this unique environment to improve the guest experience wherever people travel,” Chris Nassetta, Hilton’s president and CEO, said in a statement released to Travel + Leisure. “This landmark collaboration underscores our deep commitment to spreading the light and warmth of hospitality and providing a friendly, reliable stay — whether on the ground or in outer space.”
Voyager expects that Starlab could become operational as soon as 2027, though space programs are notorious for delays. But what we really want to know is if astronauts will be able to earn Hilton Honors points during their stay…
This story first appeared on www.travelandleisure.com
Main and Feature Image Credit: Courtesy of Hilton