On June 7, NASA revealed it will give tourists the opportunity to visit the International Space Station (ISS).
Starting in 2020, private astronaut trips will be available for a stay of up to 30 days, with the possibility of a 60 day duration. According to what NASA revealed, the plans are in part to offset the costs of keeping the station running.
It comes to no surprise that there is a price tag attached to this once in a lifetime trip that would only make it available to wealthy persons, at the estimated cost of $35,000 for a private mission, per night, per astronaut. However, no final price tag has been decided yet.
If you can afford it, there will likely be a long waiting list, since NASA mentioned in a statement that it will be able to accommodate up to two or possibly more short-duration private astronaut missions per year.
There is only enough time and space each year for 12 or possibly more private astronauts to visit the ISS, NASA stated. The trips would consist of four private astronauts per trip, travelling in a SpaceX Dragon rocket ship.
SpaceX and Boeing are tasked with the transportation of private tourists for these one-off missions, and are also the contractors who are currently developing capsules to take humans to the ISS. Among them, there are 12 companies developing ways to create a fully functional private space station operation.
While speaking during the announcement in New York, NASA chief financial officer Jeff DeWit said, “NASA is opening the International Space Station to commercial opportunities and marketing these opportunities as we’ve never done before.”
Film Crews will be allowed to shoot from the ISS as part of NASA’s commercialization plans.
The ISS has been occupied since November of 2000, and celebrated its 20th anniversary of being launched into orbit in 2018.
The new space tourists will obviously be wealthy, however, they aren’t going to be the first private visitors to the ISS. During 2001, a U.S. businessman named Dennis Tito paid Russia about $20 million for that privilege.
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