Stranger than Star Trek, wilder than Ender’s Game. An orbiting “space hotel” could soon have travelers spinning through the cosmos. The vision for a doughnut-shaped space station housing galaxy-flitting scientists and tourists isn’t new. But the rotating reality could be here sooner than you think.
Gateway Foundation is a leader in space construction. According to its website, founder John Blincow and others share a goal: “colonizing space and other worlds.” Their first step is a sci-fi-looking spaceport: the Von Braun Space Station. The station would function as both hotel for tourists and a stop-off on the way to other planets.
Gateway’s station is named for Wernher von Braun (1912-1977). Von Braun was an aerospace engineer and designer of livable outer space environments. As a young German scientist, he worked on developing rockets. Nazi Germany sought to force him to use his research for making weapons. For a time, he was imprisoned for resisting.
In 1945, as World War II ended, von Braun surrendered willingly to U.S. troops. He joined other German experts working for the United States, hoping America would use his technology for space exploration—not weapons development. He became NASA’s chief architect for the Apollo moon-landing spacecraft.
Von Braun drew from the writings of earlier scientists. In 1952, he first published his idea for a rotating, wheel-shaped space station.
Timothy Alatorre is Gateway’s lead architect. He is designing both the spaceport and its interior. His plan includes restaurants, hotel-like rooms, a gymnasium, and more. For passengers wanting the weightless experience, Alatorre adds several no-gravity spaces onboard.
The ring-shaped Von Braun Station is intended to orbit Earth multiple times each day, rotating the whole time. This spinning would use speed and God-created centrifugal force to create artificial gravity. (See Colossians 1:17.)
Alatorre admits taking inspiration from sci-fi classics. “I think it started really with Star Trek and then Star Wars, this concept of large groups of people living in space and having their own commerce, their own industry, and their own culture,” he says.
In the coming years, the station will face many obstacles. Some of those include extreme heat, extreme cold, high costs—and finding employees willing to basically become astronauts!
Plans call for the station to be finished by 2025—or thereabouts. Gateway officials hope the Von Braun Station will lodge about 450 people. The website invites aboard anyone who wants “to experience life on a large space station with the comfort of low gravity and the feel of a nice hotel.”
“Our objective is to have the station available for the average person,” Alatorre says. “It would be something that would be within reach.”
Von Braun would probably approve. He believed space undeniably revealed the holy Creator. He said, “Manned space flight is an amazing achievement, but it has opened for mankind thus far only a tiny door for viewing the awesome reaches of space. An outlook through this peep-hole at the vast mysteries of the universe should only confirm our belief in the certainty of its Creator.”