Nasa to open International Space Station to tourists from 2020

Nasa to open International Space Station to tourists from 2020

Nasa to open International Space Station to tourists from 2020

In addition to making the facilities on the International Space Station available to private companies for research, marketing and other potential revenue-generating activities, NASA will allow private astronauts to travel to and stay aboard ISS.

Once on the space station, whoever is paying the bills for the private mission will have to pay NASA for food, water, shelter and safety.

While private astronauts will now be allowed aboard the ISS (at an estimated $58 million a seat), DeWit envisions that within decades companies will be building small space stations for private use.

It's been nearly a decade since the last tourist visited the International Space Station via a Russian spacecraft, but NASA could be opening the hatch to new private astronauts as soon as 2020.

Russian Federation has already let private citizens onto the station, so it won't be the very first time a non-professional astronaut heads to space, WaPo reported. Private astronauts can use the ISS for "missions of up to 30 days", NASA said in its announcement in NY on Friday.

Eventually, Nasa hopes the space station will be just one of several "commercial and free-flying habitable destinations in low-Earth orbit".

"The costs average out to about $35,000 per night", said Jeff DeWit, NASA's chief financial officer.

The change paves the way for the wealthy to rocket from Earth and spend time aboard the astronaut home and laboratory in space, through trips planned by private enterprise, and for businesses to develop products or shoot film - including adverts - in space. The first mission could be as early as 2020.

NASA says it will support private mission with up to 5 per cent of its annual allocation for crew resources and cargo, which includes up to 90 hours of crew time and 175 kg of cargo.

The move is part of Nasa's effort to put the first woman and another man on the moon by 2024. This could become the first major step in handing off human activities in low-Earth orbit to private industry. The goal is to "accelerate a thriving commercial economy in low-Earth orbit".

The fifth part of the plan calls for NASA to lay out what exactly needs to happen to enable long-term commercial operations in long-term orbit.

Everyone except China. NASA has published solicitation guidelines for private entities interested in space commercialization aboard the ISS.

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