According to the firms, Hilton has agreed to construct astronaut facilities for the private space station Starlab that is currently being built by Voyager Space Holdings and Lockheed Martin.
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 folks.”
Taylor described it as having “a bit of an edge,” adding that it’s like looking at it with new eyes and asking, “How can we recreate this experience?” Although both the space and hospitality industries have long imagined the potential of a hotel in orbit, the alliance represents the first of its sort among the commercial stations now under development.
According to Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta, “discoveries in space have been positively influencing life on Earth for decades, and now Hilton will have the ability to harness this unique environment to improve the guest experience wherever people visit.
The free-flying Starlab space station is being developed by Voyager and its operational business Nanoracks in collaboration with Lockheed Martin. The first Starlab is expected to be operating in low Earth orbit as early as 2027, according to the firms.
As NASA gets ready to decommission the International Space Station (ISS) in 2030, four more space stations are being constructed by American businesses with funding from NASA contracts. Nanoracks received the largest individual contract in the Commercial LEO Destinations program from NASA, worth $160 million, to help build Starlab.
Taylor claimed that the relationship between the two companies began with the “cookies in space” experiment, which saw astronauts on the International Orbit Station baking DoubleTree chocolate chip cookies as the first food to be baked in space.
According to Taylor, Voyager believes that Starlab has significant market potential in both human spaceflight and science and research services.
In the third quarter of 2023, Voyager anticipates starting production on the first Starlab module. The crew is “approximately a year to bending metal,” according to Taylor.
The first Starlab will be constructed to be as adaptable as possible, with a design that allows three modules to be connected to one another. Longer-term plans for the business include “several Starlabs that are purpose built” for various market demands, according to Taylor.
Nine space infrastructure and technology enterprises are currently part of the company’s portfolio. In the upcoming year or so, Voyager intends to pursue an initial public offering.