NASA to allow tourists on ISS in 2020

Katie Ramirez
June 13, 2019

NASA plans to allow tourists to visit the International Space Station (ISS) from 2020. Nasa reports the first space station port for commercial activities is already underway.

NASA has unveiled a five-part plan to expand commercial research and development opportunities aboard the International Space Station to support low-Earth orbit missions.

On June 7, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced it is opening up a space station to tourism for "private astronaut missions of up to 30 days". In contrast to the professional astronauts, the space tourists usually stay only one or two weeks.

It is to be said that the price will add up to be $35,000 a night, per astronaut.

NASA also included additional focus areas for research solicitations to cover bioengineering, in-space manufacturing, regenerative medecine and other sustainability-focused operations.

Nasa said that private astronauts would be permitted to travel to the ISS for up to 30 days, travelling on U.S. spacecraft.

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Transport will be provided by both Boeing and Elon Musk's SpaceX, who are now developing capsules that can carry humans to the ISS. This change is a milestone for NASA, as it has resisted calls to commercialize the ISS for years.

The bulk of the bill for would-be space tourists will be an estimated $58 million for a round-ticket seat on a space taxi.

The International Space Station is now open for commercial business.

At the press conference on Friday, NASA's associate administrator for human exploration and operations, William Gerstenmaier, described the initiative as a "huge, different way for us to do business". While NASA has previously turned its nose up to the thought of allowing visitors onboard ISS, Russia, which has helped run the station since its launch in 1998, has long taken a much more relaxed position on civilian travel. The first space tourist aboard ISS was American Dennis Tito who paid Russian Federation a reported $20 million for a one-week visit in 2001.

And Axiom Space, a Houston-based company hoping to organize trips to the ISS, has pledged to charge $55 million (£43.2 million) for a 10-day trip to the ISS.

It will not be the first time a space tourist has been to the station.

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