Space hotels may seem like a sci-fi fantasy, but they’re well on the way to becoming a reality. Hilton has become the official hotel partner of Voyager Space, which aims to build and operate a private space station in low Earth orbit (LEO) called Starlab. By Stefanie Waldek
In fact, Hilton isn’t entirely alien 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 in orbit. The cookies became the first foods baked in space.
But the Starlab project is far more monumental, although far from being a real space hotel.
Everything we know about Hilton’s space hotel
Starlab is one of four private space stations being developed as part of NASA’s commercial LEO target program, which seeks to replace the ISS after it is decommissioned in 2030. NASA’s ultimate goal for the program is for private companies to launch LEO space stations from which to purchase services. (It’s similar to how NASA buys rocket launches from SpaceX for their astronauts.)
In 2021, NASA awarded Voyager Space’s parent company NanoRacks $160 million (INR 12,78,66,40,000) to develop Starlab, which will house the George Washington Carver (GWC) Science Park, a laboratory in orbit. It was the largest grant in the program.
Hilton’s part of the project will revolve around crew accommodation and common areas – Starlab will accommodate up to four astronauts at a time. And while Starlab will likely be used initially by professional astronauts, the idea of space tourism isn’t out of the question.
“For decades, discoveries in space have positively impacted life on Earth, and now Hilton has the opportunity to leverage this unique environment to enhance the guest experience wherever people travel,” said Chris Nassetta, President and CEO by Hilton, in a released statement Travel + Leisure. “This landmark collaboration underscores our deep commitment to spreading the light and warmth of hospitality and providing a friendly, dependable stay—whether on Earth or in space.”
Voyager expects Starlab could be operational as early as 2027, though space programs are notorious for delays. But what we really want to know is if astronauts can earn Hilton Honors points during their stay…
This story first appeared on www.travelandleisure.com
Main and feature photo credit: Courtesy of Hilton
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