Nasa to open International Space Station to tourists

Nasa to open International Space Station to tourists

NASA astronauts already perform experiments on behalf of companies and research organizations; under the new rule, the space agency will allow up to two private astronaut missions annually to the ISS.

Astronauts have dazzled the world in recent years with photos and videos shot from the International Space Station.

As many as a dozen private astronauts could visit the ISS per year, Nasa said.

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'.

Private astronauts will have to reimburse the government for the costs to the space station, including $11,250 a day for life support and toilets, and $22,500 a day for food, air and medical supplies.

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.

After 2024, the ISS will be in the hands of NASA's commercial and worldwide partners, but the agency isn't retreating from the station entirely.

The space station has welcomed tourists before by way of Russian rockets.

According to NASA, the first private astronaut missions could blast-off as early as 2020.

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

"But it won't come with any Hilton or Marriott points", DeWit deadpanned.

"Enabling a vibrant economy in low-Earth orbit has always been a driving element of the space station program, and will make space more accessible to all Americans", Koch said.

The Nasa officials said some revenue from commercial activities will help the agency focus its resources on returning to the moon in 2024, a major goal of the Trump administration. As part of its new policy directive, NASA will also open up the space station to possible marketing and advertising activities.

Up until now, NASA had not allowed ISS to be used for commercial purposes. Although the actual price of the trips is still unknown, NASA will be charging the companies that transport them about $35,000 per night at the space station. This could become the first major step in handing off human activities in low-Earth orbit to private industry.

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