Next month, Walt Disney World will open Space 220, a brand new restaurant in Epcot. Dubbed the “ultimate culinary exploration” by Disney, guests enter a space elevator and travel 220 miles up to a space station to enjoy their meal.
The restaurant is located in Epcot directly beside the ‘Mission: SPACE’ attraction where guests experience a simulated space training mission to Mars, or into Earth’s orbit and back. The restaurant joins a number of space-themed Disney attractions including Spaceship Earth and Space Mountain, with even more Space-based experiences on the way. The Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser immersive hotel opens next spring.
The dining experience is set to begin with a journey in a space elevator to carry guests up to the restaurant 220 miles high. The concept of a space elevator has existed for a while. The idea of a tower reaching geostationary orbit was first proposed back in the 1800s.
A space elevator would rely on a counterweight well above the altitude for geostationary orbit (roughly 22,000 miles at the equator) to support the mass of the elevator system. Space elevators would, in theory, allow for a calm ride to space without the need for rockets. Currently, even with developments in extremely high strength materials like carbon nanotubes, there are debates on whether any material would ever be strong enough to support a true space elevator.
Space 220 restaurant: Centauri Space Station
The fictional Centauri Space Station sits at 220 miles (354km) above Earth; hence the name Space 220. In terms of orbit, this is a bit lower than the two current space stations, the International Space Station and Tiangong space station, which orbit at roughly 254mi and 264 miles respectively. Space 220’s Centauri Space Station altitude matches the average 220mi altitude of the Mir space station which operated from the mid-1980s until 2000.
The put the 220-mile altitude into perspective, current Starlink satellites sit at 340 miles, while the lowest orbit of 103 miles was briefly achieved by a Japanese satellite. The flights of billionaires Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos reached 53 miles and 66 miles. While Space 220 guests certainly would be in space, I wouldn’t consider those guests astronauts.
While looking at the artist’s concept photos and dissecting the realism of Space 220 is certainly interesting, it’s hard to judge a restaurant, especially one so based on atmosphere (or… lack thereof), without being there. While we haven’t tried any of the food, Disney Parks recently shared a video providing a first look inside the restaurant and space elevator.
First look inside Space 220
In the video, you can see the nighttime look of the Earth, with all the city lights below. If you look close, you can even catch two astronauts floating outside the station. I for one can’t wait to experience this restaurant, managed by the same company that operates the Kennedy Space Center visitor complex.
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