$55 Million Will Soon Buy You an 8-Day Stay at the World's First Commercial Space Station
The lifestyles of the rich and famous continue to get more and more extravagant as people invent new ways to spend money, but flexing for Instagram and buying luxe toys is so 2018. The wave of the future, for those who can afford it, is so far out of this world that it is literally out of this world.
The New York Times reports that a new space tourism company called Axiom Space is building the world's first commercial space station that is somewhere between a fancy hotel, a research facility, and a space camp for adults. And the price to attend this orbiting camp? Just north of $55 million per person.
Despite the mindboggling price tag, Axiom is promising more than just a Club Med-meets-2001: A Space Odyssey hotel for the super-rich. As CNBC pointed out last year, much like Elon Musk and Space X, they're positioning their privatization of space tourism as a means to further democratize space research to organizations beyond NASA.
"It may be possible to develop new drugs, novel materials and more in orbit that we can't possibly create on Earth," CNBC reported. "Yet, it's nearly impossible for research and development teams to score a spot in the labs on the International Space Station today."
The space station was designed by French designer Phiippe Starck, the man once referred to as "Industrial Design's Willy Wonka."
Starck has designed world-class hotels, yachts, restaurants, and furniture, but this is the first time that he will be able to add a vessel for space to his resume.
"My vision is to create a comfortable egg, friendly, where walls are so soft and in harmony with the movements of the human body in zero gravity," the designer told the NY Times in an email, adding that he is going for "a first approach to infinity. The traveler should physically and mentally feel his or her action of floating in the universe."
Axiom Space CEO Mike Suffredini, who previously worked as a programmer for the International Space Station, and his team of fellow NASA alumni are not the firsts to propose commercial trips to space, but their plan looks to one-up the competition (people like Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson) by going where no commercial space station has planned to go before.
"The guys who are doing Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic are going to the edge of space—they're not going into orbit," Suffredini told The New York Times.
"What they're doing is a cool experience. It gives you about 15 minutes of microgravity and you see the curvature of the earth, but you don't get the same experience that you get from viewing the earth from above, and spending time reflecting, contemplating."
And before you ask: Yes. The space station will have WiFi.
The Axiom Space station will be able to fit eight passengers, one of which will be a real-life trained astronaut.
The $55 million trip to space will last for eight days, but the package deal also includes 15 weeks of training here on Earth.
"The lion's share of the cost comes from the flight up and down," said Suffredini.
"Rocket rides are expensive. You know people don't know what they're talking about if they're quoting prices substantially less than what we're stating."
The CEO admitted that most of the passengers will feel claustrophobic and will get sick for the first few days, but after they get over that initial discomfort, it should be clear orbiting.
Axiom wants to start sending people up as soon as 2020, but the station won't be ready until 2022.
If you have the cash for it and want to sip cocktails and take sponge baths 250 miles above Earth, sign up now and maybe sponsor us to tag along?