NASA Announces It Will Open International Space Station To Tourists
NASA will open the International Space Station to tourists from 2020, the US agency announced today.
According to the BBC, the trips will cost $35,000 (£27,500) per night, and private astronauts will be able to travel to the ISS for up to 30 days.
ISS deputy director Robyn Gatens explained there would be up to two short private astronaut missions per year.
Today, we're sharing details about our plan to open the @Space_Station to commercial and marketing activities. Find out more: https://t.co/VJnMEmxNT8- NASA (@NASA) June 7, 2019
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NASA's chief financial officer Jeff DeWit said: "NASA is opening the International Space Station to commercial opportunities and marketing these opportunities as we've never done before."
The plans were announced in a news conference from New York, where panellists discussed NASA's 'near-term, five-point plan to enable commercial and marketing activities aboard the International Space Station'.
The new commercial opportunities are part of a long-term goal to 'achieve a robust economy in low-Earth orbit from which NASA can purchase services as one of many customers'.
"The commercialization of low-Earth orbit will enable NASA to focus resources on landing the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024, as the first phase in creating a sustainable lunar presence to prepare for future missions to Mars," the NASA website explains.
Astronaut Christina Koch said: "Those of us who have had the privilege to live and work aboard the International Space Station over the last 20 years know what an incredible experience it is - and the unique value of the unique micro gravity environment for research, development and technology enhancement.
"We are so excited to be part of NASA as our home and labatory in space transitions into being accessible to expanded commercial and marketing opportunites, as well as to private astronauts.
"Enabling a vibrant economy in low-Earth orbit has always been a driving element of the space station programme, and will make space to all Americans.
Transitioning towards this new model of business is an important step to enable NASA to move full speed ahead, towards our goal of landing the first woman and the next man on the moon.
"Commercial companies will play a role both here in low-Earth orbit and around the moon, working with NASA to test technologies, train astronauts and develop a sustainable human presence."
Featured Image Credit: PA