For the first time in history NASA will allow private citizens to travel to the International Space Station (ISS) at a cost of $35,000 per night. That cost pales in comparison to the $58 MILLION DOLLAR round trip ticket.
This shift in policy which prohibited private tourists from reaching the space station in the past reflects a push to expand commercial activities at the ISS and in space.
Boeing Co. and Elon Musk’s SpaceX are the two companies set to transport astronauts to the ISS from the U.S.
Tourists will travel to the ISS aboard rocket-and-capsule launch systems that are currently being developed. The first mission could come as early as 2020.
Funds raised by the private trips could be used for the Trump administration’s goal of returning to the moon by 2024 and keeping the operating costs of the ISS lower.
A big bank account won’t be enough to get just anyone to the moon. Each person that applies for an ISS trip will have to pass NASA’s rigorous health checks and training procedures.
As part of its “commercialization” of the ISS, NASA will be making one space station port and utilities available for a private company to “attach a commercial module to”. And it hopes long-term, there will be multiple private space stations floating just above Earth.
“There will be up to two private astronaut missions per year” said Robyn Gatens, the deputy director of the ISS. Private astronauts will be allowed to travel to the ISS for up to 30 days.
In 2001, US businessman Dennis Tito became the first tourist to visit when he paid Russia around $20 million for a round trip. NASA’s Russian counterpart Roscosmos has already taken a number of private citizens to the space station.