NASA to open International Space Station to private astronauts

Rodiano Bonacci
Giugno 7, 2019

The announcement came as NASA unveiled its new business model on Friday, revealing a plan to incorporate more commercial and marketing opportunities 'both in low-Earth orbit and around the moon'.

NASA will allow ordinary (ultra-rich) people to go on private astronaut missions to the ISS and stay there for up to 30 days.

NASA will allow private citizens to stay at the International Space Station (ISS) for month-long getaways at a cost of about $35,000 per night, the US space agency said on Friday.

Up until now, NASA had not allowed ISS to be used for commercial purposes.

Nasa chief financial officer Jeff DeWit, speaking in NY during the announcement, said: 'Nasa is opening the International Space Station to commercial opportunities and marketing these opportunities as we've never done before'. The tourists would travel on USA spacecraft.

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.

Astronauts have dazzled the world in recent years with photos and videos shot from the International Space Station. For now, Nasa is making one space station port available for commercial uses "for a finite period of time".

Gatens detailed a five part plan for encouraging commercial activities and expanding the private marketplace in low-Earth orbit. Rather, NASA will become one of many customers that can purchase services at the ISS at a lower cost to taxpayers than what it now costs for NASA to those things on its own, DeWit said.

"We're reaching out to the private sector to see if you can push the economic frontier into space", said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator of NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

NASA officials also said opening the door to private enterprise gives the agency more room to focus on the Trump administration's goal of returning to the moon by 2024, which could be fueled in part by revenue generated from new commercial services and paying astronauts.

"We are so excited to be part of Nasa as our home and laboratory in space transitions into being accessible to expanded commercial and marketing opportunities, as well as to private astronauts", said astronaut Christina Koch, in a Nasa tweet.

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