The cost for this all-inclusive, luxury package to space? A princely US$55 million (S$74 million) per passenger. Axiom is currently building the world's first commercial space station, the Axiom Space Station. Houston-based Axiom Space, a privately-owned space exploration company, recently released new details on their 'vacation package' that would shuttle guests into orbit as soon as 2020.
"The interest in space tourism for private individuals has gained momentum as our capabilities of exploration continue to develop," said Axiom Space president and CEO Michael Suffredini in a statement.
Suffredini served as NASA's program manager for a decade before retiring in 2015 and has more than 30 years of experience in human spaceflight, according to his bio on the Axiom website. For the habitation module, Axiom tapped French creator Philippe Starck, who sought to create a "fetal universe" and nest-like environment for the private cabins. Walls are covered in an eggshell-colored, quilted, suede-like texture to impart softness and roundness, and hundreds of nano LED lights that change colour throughout the day.
"This is a dream project for a creator like myself with a genuine fascination for aviation and space exploration," said Starck. "The greatest human intelligence in the world focuses on space research, and I believe space is the intelligence of the future. My vision for the Habitation Module on Axiom Space Station is to create a comfortable egg that is inviting with soft walls and a design perfectly in harmony with the values and movements of the human body in zero gravity." The Starck-designed modules are expected to launch by mid-2022.
Italian luxury brand, Moncler, was commissioned with creating the custom flight suits that allow for ease and agility while floating around in zero-gravity conditions in orbit. Other features of the space station will include the largest window observatory constructed for space, offering sweeping views 400km above the blue planet, and a high-speed internet connection for connecting with family back on earth — and, of course, for posting Instagram pics.
Along with wealthy, intrepid travelers, the space travel packages could also be used for conducting medical research and exploring communication and manufacturing capabilities, says Axiom. Meanwhile, Axiom is in competition with another aerospace company. Bigelow Aerospace also has plans to launch a pair of inflatable, inhabitable space pods by 2021, as part of a larger vision to make commercial space habitat a viable and imminent reality.