Wednesday, 18 September, 2019


NASA to open ISS hatch for commercial businesses, private astronauts

NASA is seeking to financially disengage from the orbiting research lab NASA is seeking to financially disengage from the orbiting research lab
Kristine Garrett | 07 June, 2019, 22:43

Up to two private astronaut missions will be allowed per year, each lasting 30 days at most.

Private companies can now apply to launch short-duration commercial crew missions to the International Space Station (ISS) to conduct for-profit activities like off-Earth manufacturing, marketing and advertising.

NASA's Russian counterpart Roscosmos has already allowed a number of private citizens at the station.

NASA is now planning to end its support of the ISS by 2024, the same year that NASA astronauts are slated to return to the surface of the moon.

"Nasa is opening the International Space Station to commercial opportunities and marketing these opportunities as we've never done before", the chief financial officer, Jeff DeWit, said in NY, according to the BBC.

Once on the space station, whoever is paying the bills for the private mission will have to pay NASA for food, water, shelter and safety.

The new (very wealthy) space tourists would not be the first private visitors to the ISS, however.

That will run about US$35,000 per night per astronaut, said DeWit.

Arrangements for the trip were being left to Boeing and SpaceX, NASA said. For now, Nasa is making one space station port available for commercial uses "for a finite period of time".

NASA Chief Financial Officer Jeff DeWit and ISS Deputy Director Robyn Gatens reveal NASA's increased commercialisation on Friday.

The US space agency said it would open the orbiting station to tourism and other business ventures.

The move is part of Nasa's effort to put the first woman and another man on the moon by 2024.

"Enabling a vibrant economy in low-Earth orbit has always been a driving element of the space station program, and will make space more accessible to all Americans", Koch said.

The fifth part of the plan calls for NASA to lay out what exactly needs to happen to enable long-term commercial operations in long-term orbit. The goal is to "accelerate a thriving commercial economy in low-Earth orbit".

In addition to maintaining a sustainable commercial presence in low-Earth orbit, the agency expects commercial entities to play a central role in establishing a sustainable human presence on the moon.

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