NASA veterans in a new company are building the first space hotel! Featuring artificial gravity.
The Orbital Assembly Corporation — a large-scale space construction firm — announced its aims to launch the next phase of human exploration in space.
In short, the company of NASA veterans plans to rapidly assemble a habitable “space hotel” in low-Earth orbit that spins fast enough to generate artificial gravity for guests, scientists, astronauts, and more, according to an event called “First Assembly” — which streamed live on the company’s YouTube channel.
As a multi-stage project to build the first-ever space station featuring artificial gravity, Orbital Assembly Corporation (OAC) is now officially open for investors to co-own at $0.25 per share, until April 1, 2021. But with such a heavy emphasis on commercial backing and services, it’s unclear what near-term benefits this will foster for the public.
NASA veterans building first space hotel with artificial gravity
Similar to the von Braun concept for space stations — where a wheel- (or donut-) shaped habitat is made to spin with an angular velocity high enough to create artificial gravity for occupants — the Orbital Assembly Corporation’s (OAC’s) goal is to build a ring-shaped Voyager Space Station (VSS) with a diameter of 650 ft (200 m) and capable of creating moon-levels of artificial gravity.
However, while the company is open to science, military, and other strategic activities on that station, it aims to accelerate commercial activity in space by testing and building the technology needed for long-term human habitats in space, explained OAC’s CEO and President John Blincow.
The most familiar cultural bookmark to the OAC’s Voyager Space Station is the fictional space station in the film “2001: A Space Odyssey.” But this isn’t science fiction.
Building the rotating space station in stages
“Our vision is to create a space construction company for the design, manufacture, and assembly of large structures in space, including commercial space stations, space solar power platforms, and propellant depots,” reads the company’s introduction on Net Capital. “To achieve this objective, we developed several design patents for in-space assembly robots.”
“To enable a robust, human-centered space economy, our capabilities are geared toward the construction of a Voyager Space Station (VSS),” continued the OAC intro on the stock site. “We plan to build the rotating space station in stages, starting with a small-scale station demonstration station, and one or more free-flying microgravity facilities, utilizing VSS components.”
Two prototypes on the road to Voyager Space Station
OAC will first build DSTAR and later the Prototype Structural Truss Assembly Robot (PSTAR) — which will both precede Voyager Space Station, explained Blincow. All investors will become one of the first to help build the first artificial-gravity-capable space stations in orbit.
“This will be the next industrial revolution,” said Blincow.
“We haven’t seen an explosion of commercial activity in space,” said OAC’s COO, CFO, and VP Business Admin and Habitat Design Tim Alatorre. “The cost has been about $8,000 per kg for a long time,” he added. “But with the Falcon 9, you can do it for less than $2,000. And as Starship comes online, it will only cost a few hundred [ … ]”