NASA to open International Space Station to paying customers

Space is open for business if you've got millions to spare.

    2019/06/11

NSFW    ISS — According to the BBC, NASA will be opening the International Space Station to commercial ventures, including space tourism.

Starting 2020, there will be two private space missions per year, each for stays of up to 30 days.

Travelers will be ferried to the ISS by two companies hired by NASA — SpaceX using its Crew Dragon capsule, and Boeing with the Starliner it's currently building.

These companies would choose the clients and be responsible for determining crew composition, and making sure the private astronauts meet the medical and training requirements for spaceflight.

The L.A. Times reports that apart from a $58 million roundtrip ticket, tourists will need to pay $35,000 for each day spent at the station. Use of the station's toilets and life support system costs $11,250 per day, while the daily charge for crew supplies such as food, air, and medical supplies is $22,500.

The AFP reports the International Space Station isn't owned entirely by NASA, having been built starting in 1998 with Russia. The U.S. though, paid for and controls most of the orbiter's modules.

While NASA had previously banned commercial use of the station, the Russian space agency has long embraced space tourism. In 2001, U.S. businessman Dennis Tito paid Russia $20 million to be the first space tourist on the ISS.
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