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You could stay in a space hotel pod by 2021

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The final frontier of hotel rooms

A stay at hotel pods currently under fabrication will cost “in the low eight figures.”
Courtesy of Bigelow Space Operations

Earthlings may soon be able to book reservations at an inflatable space hotel by 2021. According to a conference call on Tuesday, billionaire hotel mogul Robert Bigelow—who made his fortune through the hotel chain Budget Suites of America—is planning the hotel to be part of a larger, fully autonomous standalone space station.

The ambitious goal is the work of Bigelow Space Operations, which was founded in 1999. Two space stations are currently being built and are “very far along in fabrication,” reports the Daily Mail. Called B330-1 and B330-2, the 55-foot modules will link together to form a station that’s twice the volume capacity of the International Space Station. Each station can operate in low Earth orbit, cislunar space, and beyond.

The goal is for Bigelow Space Operations to offer multi-million dollar reservations to anyone wanting to spend time in space. The company also plans to sell time aboard the stations to governments and researchers who need orbital laboratory space.

Bigelow Aerospace

Calling the space pods a “hotel” might be stretching it. The artistic renderings show a lot of storage areas, a bridge, battery boxes, and an area containing fitness equipment. There are also “personal quarters” and a place labeled “personal hygiene equipment,” but there’s no word on whether traditional hotel amenities—like turn down service, housekeeping, or free bottled water—will be offered in space.

Bigelow’s plan may not be as far-fetched as it sounds, however. In 2016 the company was the first to build and attach an inflatable room to the International Space Station, so Bigelow and team aren’t foreign to building things for space. Called the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), that unit is currently on a two-year mission to test durability. The company is also working with United Launch Alliance to send an inflatable habitat to low lunar orbit by 2022.