The Aurora Space Station is a technology concept for a private commercial space station in low Earth orbit that was announced on 5 April 2018 by Orion Span, an aerospace startup company in California. The concept envisions a capacity of six people: two crew and four tourists.
The company is in talks with several launch providers. Construction has not yet begun, but representatives anticipate the station to be launched in 2021.
Frank Bunger, founder and CEO of Orion Span, stated that the Aurora Station would offer space tourists a twelve-day stay for USD $9.5 million. The design concept is such that the station would not require extravehicular activities (spacewalks) for assembly and operation. Orion Span plans to design, test and build the station in Houston, Texas.
The company has yet to sign a definitive launch contract, but is in talks with several providers, and anticipates the commercial station to be deployed to low Earth orbit in 2021, then to start receiving passengers in 2022. Bunger said travelers will be required to complete a three-month training program before launch. Guests would be able to free-float, look out windows, practice hydroponics, and play in a “hologram deck.”
Michael Suffedrini, veteran ten-year manager of the International Space Station at Johnson Space Center, is leading the company Axiom Space to create a commercial space station, first set to be launched as an extension to the ISS in 2019. Axiom pricing ranges from $55M (10 days) to $80M (60 days), whereas Orion Span is to cost $9.5M for a twelve-day stay.