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Space Tourism Set to Become Reality as NASA Opens International Space Station to Tourists From 2020

ISS deputy director Robyn Gatens said there will be up to two short private astronaut missions per year, with each lasting up to 30 days.

AFP

Updated:June 7, 2019, 10:32 PM IST
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Space Tourism Set to Become Reality as NASA Opens International Space Station to Tourists From 2020
The International Space Station (ISS) photographed by Expedition 56 crew members from a Soyuz spacecraft after undocking. (Image: Reuters)
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New York: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on Friday said it will open up the International Space Station (ISS) to business ventures including space tourism — with stays priced at $35,000 (Rs 24.2 lakh) a night — as it seeks to financially disengage from the orbiting research lab.

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

There will be up to two short private astronaut missions per year, said Robyn Gatens, deputy director of the ISS.

The missions will be for stays of up to 30 days. As many as a dozen private astronauts could visit the ISS per year, NASA said.

These travellers would be ferried to the orbiter exclusively by the two companies currently developing transport vehicles for NASA: SpaceX, with its Crew Dragon capsule, and Boeing, which is building one called Starliner.

These companies would choose the clients and bill for the trip to the ISS, which will be the most expensive part of the adventure: around $58 million for a round trip ticket.

That is the average rate the companies will bill NASA for taking the space adventurers up to the ISS.

But the tourists will also pay NASA for their stay in space, for food, water and use of the life support system on the orbiter.

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

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