Orbital calls itself the "world's first large-scale space construction company" and has grand ambitions to build the first space hotel in low Earth orbit, beginning in 2025. The hotel will be equipped with restaurants, a cinema, spa, and space pods (rooms) for 400 people.
The 3-year-old company plans to use robots to construct the celestial hotel shaped like a Ferris wheel. The 650-foot-wide wheel-shaped structure will spin with an angular velocity high enough to generate moon-like levels of artificial gravity for occupants.
If realized, Voyager Station will be the biggest human-made structure in space. It will be made up of a series of rings, with modules attached to the rings' outermost area.
Some of these 24 modules will house crew quarters, power systems, research labs, and supplies.
The rotating wheel space station was an idea derived out of the 1950s from aerospace engineer Wernher von Braun.
To complete the build and make it affordable, Elon Musk's SpaceX has dramatically lowered the cost of launching things into space. Before the reusable Falcon 9 rocket, launching items into space cost around $8,000 per kg - prices are now around $2,000/kg. SpaceX believes Starship will bring it to list a few hundred dollars.
Orbital is set to test the concept with a much smaller scale prototype space station in a zero-gravity research facility.
"This will be the next industrial revolution," explained John Blincow, founder of the Gateway Foundation, adding it will create a new space industry. The Voyager station's concept was first realized with Gateway Foundation in 2012, then rolled into Orbital in 2018.
Essentially a new space race has already begun as NASA works to commercialize spaceflight. This shift of space exploration: from the government to private corporations, has already ignited a space boom and could help boost the economy in the coming years.