Watch this space - we’ll soon be holidaying in it


Watch this space - we’ll soon be holidaying in it

It’s going to be a billionaires’ club out there in the great beyond, thanks to Musk, Branson and Bezos

Sylvia McKeown

We all follow at least one. One annoying, well-curated account on Instagram where beautiful people casually find themselves having the time of their lives in breathtaking places. We hate them as we sit in our cold desk cubicles, but, at the same time, love to be inspired by the idea it could be us one day. Well, prepare to be more jealous than ever.
Through SpaceX, ex-homegrown billionaire Elon Musk is putting in tremendous effort to get intergalactic in a race thick with billionaires such as Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Virgin’s Richard Branson. And off the back of this comes a brand-new level of partnership – that of interstellar hotels.
In April a company called Orion Span announced its intention to launch (in every sense of the word) the world’s first “luxury space hotel” by 2021. Reservations are open for a spot on the snug, four-room, 42m² space station, which promises to allow you to take the giant leap to becoming a private astronaut. Guided by crew members, visitors will be led through the research that makes up the everyday, weightless, life on the space station. This 12-day stay, as well as all the dehydrated food you can eat, will set you back roughly R130-million.Not to be outdone – and possibly appalled at the idea of dehydrated food – another company, Axiom Space, has decided to create an even more luxurious space hotel. In June it announced its space station would not only be launching a whole year earlier than Orion Span’s but would also have drinks served in “espresso cups and cocktail glasses specifically engineered to work in microgravity”. Their offering will set you back R746-million for 10 days or R1-billion for 60.
Axiom believes its official partnership with the International Space Station will make all the difference until it gets its own commercial space station, complete with habitation pods designed by Philippe Starck. Also, the days spent on the station will be more about inspiration than experimentation, as the company looks to bring together the wealthy, as well as professional astronauts, researchers, manufacturers, advertisers and space exploration entities to see Earth from a new perspective.Axiom president and CEO Michael Suffredini, a 27-year-old Nasa veteran, explains: “Seeing the world as a delicate, singular entity against the vast backdrop of the universe indelibly changes people. Most individuals return from space with a profound sense of urgency to do more to protect our fragile planet and all of its inhabitants.
“Axiom private astronauts will be some of the most influential people in the world so, together with their philanthropic organisations, we see a positive change coming for all of us and our home planet.” 
We hope the lucky few who make it into the astronauts’ club (perhaps one in every 13 million people) do take the opportunity to be inspired for good and don’t just spend their time taking space selfies in the communal picnic lounge eating “flavourful (and, increasingly, fresh) meals”.If all else fails, maybe you can get a spot on Bezos’s Blue Origin Blue Moon colony project. The plan is to prepare the moon for eventual permanent human settlement. AC Charania, the business developer for Blue Origin, announced last week they plan to have the settlement up and running by 2023. Watch this space.

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