NASA will allow TOURISTS aboard the International Space Station starting in 2020

Jo Lloyd
June 10, 2019

Friday's announcement marks the first time NASA is allowing private astronauts on board. For crew supplies including food, air, medical kit, etc. you'll have to shell out $22,500 every day. A new policy provides the opportunity for up to two short-duration private astronaut missions to the space station beginning as early as 2020, if the market supports it. "I would expect the cost to be in that [$83 million] range" for private astronauts, DeWit noted.

Launching private astronaut missions is part of a larger effort to expand commercial activity at the space station beyond the research and development now limited by the ISS National Lab mandate.

Unlike the old government-funded Moon missions, the new and improved NASA will send "private astronauts" to the ISS on privately-funded dedicated flights operated by companies like SpaceX and Boeing, using United States spacecraft as transportation; NASA hopes that as these voyages become more frequent, their operators will develop better and cheaper technology.

"This is a momentous day for, not only NASA and the space economy, but honestly for US industry as a whole", said the space agency's CFO Jeff DeWit.

The International Space Station could soon become humanity's next hottest tourist destination. Getting private astronauts to and from the space station will remain a large financial hurdle. Fingers crossed, a ticket will get cheaper. That will be very expensive.

NASA is also calling on the private space industry to send in ideas for habitats and modules that can be attached to the space station semi-permanently.

NASA's Read points out a key element, though, to this new venture: "We are a government bureaucracy that is trying to enable development of a new economy".

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.

"What we don't want to do is go to the surface of the moon, prove that we can do it again, and then be done". About the fares, he said, "What we realize is there are many different ways to price these seats depending on who you are and what you're doing".

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