Southern California Company Makes Ambitious Plans for Rotating Space Hotel

By Ilene Schneider
Ilene Schneider
Ilene Schneider
November 4, 2019 Updated: November 4, 2019

Does a hotel floating in space sound like a great vacation venue? That concept could become reality in less than a decade if a local business can procure the funding to complete its project.

An Alta Loma company, the Gateway Foundation, said it has plans to start working on the Von Braun Station, a rotating hotel floating in space with room for 400 people, this year. The company hopes to have it off the ground in 2025 and operational for space travel by 2027.

The company says its Von Braun rotating space station “will be the first commercial space construction project in history. It will be serviced by the SpaceX Starship and be designed to accommodate national space agency laboratories, billionaires who want to own property in space, and space tourists.”

John Blincow, president of the Gateway Foundation and chief executive officer of Orbital Assembly, told The Epoch Times, “The reason we want to build the Von Braun rotating station is to form a space construction industry that can build large structures in space like fuel depots, very large space based telescopes and, most importantly, spaceports like the Gateway Spaceport.”

The Von Braun station will be assembled in space from the necessary parts made on earth, said Blincow. The company also claims to have created the first space construction company to build its planned space facilities, as well as forming the first investment fund dedicated to funding space construction.

Tim Alatorre, senior design architect at the Gateway Foundation, told CNN Travel that the overall goal of the Gateway Foundation is to “create a starship culture where people are going to space, and living in space, and working in space and they want to be in space. And we believe that there’s a demand for that.”

In addition to providing a travel opportunity, the Gateway Foundation wants to use the space station for research purposes and asteroid mining.

Alatorre explained to the news outlet that the rotating wheel design of the Von Braun would generate the feeling of gravity. However, there would be no artificial gravity near the middle of the station; the sense of gravity would increase while moving further to the outside of the wheel shape.

The station derived its name from designs created 60 years ago by aerospace engineer Wernher von Braun. Alatorre said that the physics of the space station are essentially the same, but new materials and technology make the design more feasible today.

In terms of sustainability, Alatorre told CNN Travel that the engine will use methane instead of petroleum. In addition, everything will be recycled.

According to Blincow, “Building in space is much easier than launching things into space, but the challenges are still significant. Much as we have figured out how to build large structures deep underwater, so too will humankind build large structures in space. The biggest challenge is not environmental, but instead it is financial. We must get the investment community to see how very large profits there are to be made in Low Earth Orbit.”

Blincow said that Gateway commissioned a company to create a cost analysis for building and operating the Von Braun station, and the estimates were between $60 to $70 billion.

Taking a vacation to the space station will not come cheap. According to Blincow, “Our price estimates to visit the station are based on three levels of vacation packages: $5 million for a luxury suite, $3 million for a luxury room, $2 million for a standard room (single). These are all based on a 3.5-day stay that includes all ground transportation and training. Longer stays are available at reduced cost, since transportation in included.”

If the project becomes operative in the proposed timeline, Gateway has other space projects in its sights for the future.

Other companies, including Virgin Galactic, Elon Musk’s SpaceX company, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin aerospace company, Orion Span and the International Space Station, are also planning to play a part in the commercialization of space travel.

Ilene Schneider
Ilene Schneider