Published: Sat, June 08, 2019
Research | By Sheri Schwartz

Nasa opening space station to visitors

Nasa opening space station to visitors

"This is great for the USA economy, and it shows the American taxpayers that NASA is using their money well", DeWit told Cheddar from the NASDAQ MarketSite.

The space agency recently announced that it planned to return to the moon by 2024, taking the first woman there and the first person in decades.

"Commercial companies will play an important role both here ... and around the moon, working with NASA to test technologies, train astronauts and develop a sustainable human presence", said Christina Hoch, a resident of the ISS, in a video on Twitter. Exactly how much that will cost is still TBD, but NASA is developing pricing for use of life support, crew supply, storage, and data.

Up until now, NASA had not allowed ISS to be used for commercial purposes.

NASA officials also said opening the door to private enterprise gives the agency more room to focus on the Trump administration's goal of returning to the moon by 2024, which could be fueled in part by revenue generated from new commercial services and paying astronauts. The tourists would travel on U.S. spacecraft. "I would expect the cost to be in that [$58 million] range" for private astronauts, DeWit noted.

The plan is to start off with two private flights per year. The government agency will be contracting them through private companies, such as Boeing and Elon Musk's SpaceX, to transport the deep-pocketed astronauts. "It will be roughly about $35,000 a night per astronaut".

And not just anyone can book a flight.

Nasa is to offer tourists the chance to visit the International Space Station from next year, it was revealed today.

Private astronauts can use the ISS for "missions of up to 30 days", NASA said in its announcement in NY on Friday.

During Friday's press conference, NASA said it would also dedicate 5 percent of its resources to host the activities of private companies, including the research into and testing of new products.

"We're looking to the private sector to do the training, to do the transportation, to work out the accommodations, to be the interface between the individuals that want to fly the private astronauts and us", Gerstenmaier said. The station is expected to continue operations until 2030.

DeWit said the 2025 date is one of several proposals under consideration by lawmakers and "right now, there's no real firm date" for a transition to commercial operations. "This is the first step".

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