FONTANA, Calif. — Standing in front of a wall, scientist and engineer Tom Spilker looks at a floor-to-ceiling drawing of the first projected commercial space station called Voyager.
What You Need To Know
- Fontana-based Orbital Assembly Corporation, or OAC, said it is building the world's first space hotel called the Voyager station
- It will span 2.5 football fields with 24 modules, and each one can fit several hotel rooms or amenities, including a gym, research labs or a concert venue
- OAC recently demonstrated the technology to show it can build massive structures in space
- The company plans to open the space hotel by 2027
"I've known since I was about 3 feet tall that I was going to be doing something with flight or space and maybe both," he said. "I've been dreaming about things like this for essentially all of my life."
Spilker has spent his entire career devoted to those dreams, working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for 20 years. He is embarking on another mission — building a space hotel called the Voyager station.
His company, Orbital Assembly Corporation, plans to build a ring-shaped hotel with 24 modules around it.
"In our current design, a module is 60 feet long and 40 feet wide, and we're looking at 12 to 14 of those would be hotel modules," Spilker said.
He serves as the company's chief technical officer and vice president for Space Systems Architecture Design and Engineering.
However, Spilker and his team will show the world they have the technology to build a low-orbit space station with artificial gravity, similar to that on the moon's surface.
They created a Demonstrator Structural Truss Assembly Robot, or DSTAR system, that allows the company to build massive structures in space. The team demonstrated in June by assembling a six-ton truss — or a large structure made up of beams and braces — and expanded it to the length of a football field.
Spilker said the next step is to assemble a much larger, circular truss in low Earth orbit in 2023 and ultimately open the world's first space hotel by 2027.
The Voyager station will span 2.5 football fields with 24 modules in the outer ring, and each one can fit several hotel rooms or amenities, including a gym, research labs or a concert venue.
The hotel would accommodate up to 400 guests.
Spilker said the idea for a wheel-like rotating space station is more than 100 years old, and he worked on the design with Orbital Assembly Corporation's chief operating officer and vice president of habitation Tim Alatorre.
"The way I put it is that I build it so that people don't blow up. Tim builds it so that people don't throw up," Spilker said. "So we are making it so that people go up and have a very pleasant experience."
Spilker hopes to be one of the first in line when the hotel is ready for space tourists.
"It's just wonderful to see the possibility that those dreams will become [a] reality," he said.