At the moment, being on a space station is a crowded experience that involves strapping astronauts into cocoons to prevent them from floating around while they sleep. When the Starlab commercial space station launches, Hilton, known for its upscale hotels, plans to spruce things up a bit.
The space company Nanoracks, its principal shareholder Voyager Space, and Lockheed Martin are working together on the Starlab project. Hilton has agreed to design crew lodging and hospitality suites.
The Voyager Space relationship with Hilton demonstrates their dedication to the space tourism component of the equation. Even better, those astronauts might receive some freshly baked goods. An ISS experiment that produced cookies was successfully funded by Doubletree by Hilton. Starlab visitors may respond, "Chocolate chip cookies," when asked what the atmosphere of space smells like.
After the announcement on Tuesday, there are few details, but words like "guest experience" and "warmth of hospitality" were deleted, leaving a lot to the imagination. Will there be a menu for pillows? Free continental breakfast provided?
Starlab is planned to house space travelers as well as important scientific research in a cutting-edge lab. As the International Space Station nears the end of its useful life, it is intended to fill in and offer a facility in low Earth orbit. By 2027, Starlab might be fully operational.
Hilton and Voyager will collaborate on creating hospitality suites and sleeping arrangements as well as exploring marketing possibilities for the space station and astronaut experiences there. In an interview with CNBC during the 2022 International Astronautical Congress, Voyager Chairman and CEO Dylan Taylor expressed his excitement for Hilton's "unique perspective" on the project because "they're not space people."
The partnership represents the first of its kind among the private stations under development, although both the space and hospitality sectors have long imagined the possibilities of a hotel in orbit. "It's almost like looking at it with a fresh set of eyes and saying: 'How do we reimagine this experience,'" Taylor said, adding that he sees it as "a bit of an edge."
"For decades, discoveries in space have been positively impacting life on Earth, and now Hilton will have an opportunity to use this unique environment to improve the guest experience wherever people travel," Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta said.
According to Taylor, Voyager believes that Starlab has significant market potential in both human spaceflight and science and research services.