Hospitality giant Hilton is signing on to design lodging facilities for the private space station being built by Voyager and Lockheed Martin.
Billed as the “first ever free-flying commercial space station,” Starlab will eventually be used as a research and development facility, which NASA hopes will replace the International Space Station (ISS). Despite NASA extending ISS operations until 2030, the agency has officially planned to incorporate more private space stations into its operations.
A statement issued by Voyager on Tuesday said that the hotel giant will join its efforts to “reimagine the human experience in space, making extended stays more comfortable.”
The project was first announced in 2021, with Voyager’s operating company, Nanoracks, receiving $160 million in federal taxpayer dollars as part of early-stage funding by NASA.
It is unclear, however, whether the project will be completed in time due to the pace of construction. Additionally, Starlab endured a setback when Russia, a major partner in ISS operations, announced it would withdraw from the ISS in 2024 and pursue its own independent space station operations.
Still, once the Starlab station is completed, it should be able to host a total of four astronauts continuously. It will include private sleeping arrangements, hospitality suites, and communal areas.
The two companies plan on eventually creating a commercial ground-to-space astronaut experience with a branding initiative combining elements of tourism and education.
This is not Hilton’s first venture into outer space. Under its DoubleTree brand, the company had its cookie batter baked in space so that astronauts could test a zero-gravity oven.