In 2001, space tourism became a reality. Millionaire Dennis Tito was the first “fee-paying” space tourist: he flew to the International Space Station (ISS) and spent one week there. Since then, an additional six space tourists flew to the ISS, including one woman. At the moment, this adventure is only affordable to the very wealthy. However, space tourism offers a unique type of experience that might capture the interest of a larger percentage of the traveling population should costs be reduced due to improved technology. It is therefore forecasted that orbital accommodation for space tourists is going to develop into a big new market.
In this context, a preliminary assessment on the convenience and feasibility of a Space Hotel project is presented here. The study takes into account many different aspects and constraints deriving from the harsh space environment as well as the peculiar goal of the facility and the presence of humans which are not specifically trained to work in space but who just ask for relax and fun.
A multidisciplinary approach is maintained in order to simultaneously deal with the engineering and financial issues the application asks to solve. Although space technology and market solutions represent a strong heritage on the basis of which to propose a valid design for the Hotel, the novelty of the application forces the assumption of a new perspective focused on tourists’ satisfaction; these new design drivers include cost limitations, a strong focus on ergonomics in order to respond to tourists’ psychological and physical needs as well as on-board relaxation and recreational activities. Moreover, some new technologies, such as inflatable modules currently studied by space companies, are suggested and placed side by side to classical engineering solutions, such as those realized for the International Space Station.
The study proposes two different scenarios: an orbiting and a planetary surface hotel. The flying hotel orbits around the Earth, while the surface hotel stays on the Moon. Each of them has to face different environmental constraints but responds to the same tourist needs. A limited number of tourists ‒ for a limited span of time and with appropriate prior training ‒ will be hosted in the hotel and supported by astronauts who are already onsite in order to perform a specific scientific mission. This solution allows for the proposal of a project in the short-term time period due to the fact that the hotel becomes a limited part of an already feasible human space unit, designed for scientific purposes. Both applications are technically feasible within the next decades although space holidays still remain a very expensive vacation.
Principal Academic Tutor
Aerospace Engineering, Politecnico di Milano
Control and Computer Engineering, Politecnico di Torino
Industrial Design, Arts, Communication and fashion, Politecnico di Milano
Thales Alenia Space
Thales Alenia Space
Roberto Maffei [Project Communication Coordinator & Team controller], Architecture
Alfonso Aragona, Aerospace Engineering
Giuseppe Cataldo, Aeronautical Engineering
Alessandro Gren, Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering
Andrea Paraboschi, Engineering for Cinema and Methods of Communications
Andrea Minelli [Team controller], Space Engineering
Maral Kinran, Industrial Design
Umberto Melia, Biomedical Engineering
Luca Milani, Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering
Valentina Sumini, Architectural projects and management of constructive processes