The Rich Are Planning to Leave This Wretched Planet

The Rich Are Planning to Leave This Wretched Planet

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“It” was an early mock-up of a cabin that will reside inside a commercial space station, among the first of its kind, that Axiom is building: a mash-up of boutique hotel, adult space camp, and NASA-grade research facility designed to hover approximately 250 miles above the earth. Axiom hired Philippe Starck, the French designer who has lent panache to everything from high-end hotel rooms to mass-market baby monitors, to outfit the interior of its cabins. Mr. Starck lined the walls with a padded, quilted, cream-colored, suede-like fabric and hundreds of tiny LED lights that glow in varying hues depending on the time of day and where the space station is floating in relation to the earth.

“My vision is to create a comfortable egg, friendly, where walls are so soft and in harmony with the movements of the human body in zero gravity,” Mr. Starck wrote in an email, calling his intended effect “a first approach to infinity. The traveler should physically and mentally feel his or her action of floating in the universe.”

Brace for the rise of the cosmos-scenti.

At NASA, Mr. Suffredini spent a decade managing the International Space Station, the hulking, 20-year-old research facility in low Earth orbit. This gives him a certain edge over Mr. Branson and Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, who is overseeing Blue Origin. (The majority of Axiom’s 60 employees also hail from NASA.) At least Mr. Suffredini thinks so.

“The guys who are doing Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic are going to the edge of space — they’re not going into orbit,” he said. “What they’re doing is a cool experience. It gives you about 15 minutes of microgravity and you see the curvature of the earth, but you don’t get the same experience that you get from viewing the earth from above, and spending time reflecting, contemplating.”

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