Nasa to allow commercial access to the International Space Station


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

NASA will allow private citizens to stay at the International Space Station (ISS) for month-long getaways at a cost of about $35,000 per night, the USA space agency said on Friday.

Russian Federation has already let private citizens onto the station, so it won't be the very first time a non-professional astronaut heads to space, WaPo reported.

As many as a dozen private astronauts could visit the ISS per year, Nasa said. The ISS costs Nasa roughly $3bn to $4bn a year to operate, according to the Verge.

As NASA shifts its priorities to landing astronauts to the moon, it is opening the International Space Station for commercial business, agency officials announced today (June 7) at a news conference here at the Nasdaq MarketSite.

The new (very wealthy) space tourists would not be the first private visitors to the ISS, however. Bigelow Aerospace plans to use SpaceX, a rocket company run by CEO Elon Musk, and each flight to space would have four seats for the group of private astronauts.

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The ISS program is the result of a collaboration between NASA and the various space agencies of Canada, Europe, Japan and Russian Federation.

Nasa had previously banned any commercial use of the space station and prohibited astronaut's from taking part in for-profit research.

"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.

Commercializing the ISS "will enable NASA to focus resources to land the next man and the first woman on the moon by 2024", Jeff DeWit, NASA's chief financial officer, told reporters during the news conference. The goal is to "accelerate a thriving commercial economy in low-Earth orbit".

"This is a momentous day for, not only NASA and the space economy, but honestly for US industry as a whole", said the space agency's CFO Jeff DeWit.

The move is part of a broader push by the Trump administration to end government funding for the ISS, and allow commercial enterprise to fund what is now astronauts' home in space.