NASA to open Space Station to tourists

Missions of up to 30 days, twice per year, coming from 2020

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NASA’s International Space Station is destined to be a new holiday destination for the ultra-rich after NASA revealed it’s making the floating space port available to a handful of tourists each year.

If supported, the agency can accommodate up to two short-duration private astronaut missions per year to the International Space Station. These missions will be privately funded, dedicated commercial spaceflights. Private astronaut missions will use a U.S. spacecraft developed under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

From 2020, commercial travellers will have the chance to venture into space with transport carriers such as Space X or Northrop Grumman, both envisioned to dock at the International Space Station.

NASA will provide private astronaut missions of up to 30 days on the International Space Station.

Research will still be conducted at the facility in its low-Earth orbit even as the Space Station supports the burgeoning space economy.

Prices don’t come cheap with “Regenerative Life Support & Toilet” facilities priced from US$11,250 per crew per day. Couple that with food, air, medical kit, exercise equipment and supplies – valued at a whopping US$22,500 per crew per day – and the trip will cost around AU$50,000 per day. These costs exclude the space transportation outlay to and from the International Space Station.

“The agency’s ultimate goal in low-Earth orbit is to partner with [the] industry to achieve a strong ecosystem in which NASA is one of many customers purchasing services and capabilities at lower cost,” NASA said.

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