NASA Opens International Space Station to Commercial Opportunities

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And it urges work to "stimulate sustainable demand" for commercial R&D in a variety of fields, ranging from in-space manufacturing to biomedicine. As part of that initiative, NASA will also begin allowing for private astronaut missions to the space station, the organization announced Friday. That means that product testing, private research and even filming for outer-space movies could take place aboard the station. Several also wondered why NASA had limited travel to just Americans.

The new commercialisation push could provide NASA with more money to pursue much more ambitious missions, like the agency's goals of building a new space station around the moon and sending humans back to the lunar surface.

These travellers would be ferried to the orbiter exclusively by the two U.S. companies now developing transport vehicles for NASA: SpaceX, with its Crew Dragon capsule, and Boeing, which is building one called Starliner. They will need to book their training, their ride and their up-to-30-day stay through an American space carrier. Two such launches could be accommodated per year.

"The International Space Station is a treasure".

Nasa will let tourists visit the International Space Station (ISS) from 2020.

As of March 2019, 236 people in total had visited the station. And those prices do not include transportation to and from the station. As the BBC notes, it could cost as much as $60 million per flight, if not per astronaut.

Nasa will charge tourists tens of thousands of dollars per night for lodging, food, water, and use of life support systems on the space station.

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NASA's cost per seat is going down compared to rides aboard the Russian Soyuz.

The moves come as NASA seeks to defray the yearly $3 to $4 billion ($A4.3 to $A5.7 billion) cost to operate the ISS, The Verge says.

For now, Nasa is making one space station port available for commercial uses "for a finite period of time".

How will they get there?

"It will be roughly about $50,000 a night per astronaut". "What we're hearing is a lot of excitement in the commercial sector for this". The space station was built jointly by the US, Russia, Japan, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency in 1998.

NASA is now planning to end its support of the ISS by 2024, the same year that NASA astronauts are slated to return to the surface of the moon.

"And the Gateway, in my view - I've been convinced - enables us to take advantage of commercial and global partners in a more robust way so we are there to stay, it enables us to get to more parts of the moon than ever before, and it enables us to get to Mars".