The International Space Station Is Open for Commercial Business in Orbit

Nasa to open International Space Station to tourists

NASA: The International Space Station Is Open for Commercial Business in Orbit

A private mission on the International Space Station will cost a minimum of about $35,000 per night.

Accommodations aboard the orbiting outpost will run about US$35,000 (A$50,000) per night, for trips of up to 30 days long.

NASA just announced today that it's opening the International Space Station to both tourists and commercial activities "so USA industry innovation and ingenuity can accelerate a thriving commercial economy in low-Earth orbit".

However, NASA has published a price list that underscores the fact that space is not a budget travel destination.

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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.

The change paves the way for the wealthy to rocket from Earth and spend time aboard the astronaut home and laboratory in space, through trips planned by private enterprise, and for businesses to develop products or shoot film - including adverts - in space.

Unfortunately, the stay won't come with any Hilton or Marriott points, DeWit joked. The first mission could be as early as 2020. As part of its new policy directive, NASA will also open up the space station to possible marketing and advertising activities. Two of these short-stay missions will be allowed every year, and the first tourist may go up as early as 2020 using a U.S. spacecraft by SpaceX or Boeing developed under NASA's Commercial Crew Program.

While some might fear seeing the ISS plastered with Doritos and Budweiser logos, NASA has already laid out some guidelines for what it considers acceptable commercial and marketing activities: They must require access to the unique microgravity environment, have a connection to NASA's mission or "support the development of a sustainable low-Earth orbit economy".

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Commercializing the ISS "will enable NASA to focus resources to land the next man and the first woman on the moon by 2024", Jeff DeWit, NASA's chief financial officer, told reporters during the news conference.

Gatens detailed a five part plan for encouraging commercial activities and expanding the private marketplace in low-Earth orbit. In other words, in the future, NASA wants to be the buyer of low-Earth orbit services, not the seller.

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

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