NASA opening space station for $50,000-a-night ‘getaway’

Pat Wise
June 8, 2019

Each mission will likely cost over $50 million per tourist (paid to a private space tourism company), and NASA plans to pocket $35,000 for every night a private astronaut stays.

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

"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.

As record amounts of outside investment pour into the USA space industry, companies like SpaceX are making the promise of cheaper commercial travel to the so-called "final frontier" more attainable.

After 2024, the ISS will be in the hands of NASA's commercial and global partners, but the agency isn't retreating from the station entirely.

The missions will be for stays of up to 30 days.

Private astronauts may return to the ISS with NASA's help. Officials said those activities could be far-ranging: "We have no idea what kinds of creativity and literally out of the world ideas come from private industry", Bill Gersteinmaier, NASA's head of human exploration, said during a news conference.

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The private astronaut aspect of the initiative is particularly intriguing.

"The costs average out to about $35,000 per night", said Jeff DeWit, NASA's chief financial officer. "If a private astronaut is on station, they'll have to pay us while they're there for the life support, the food, the water; things of that nature". The ISS costs Nasa roughly $3bn to $4bn a year to operate, according to the Verge. "And so, (private astronauts would) have to contract with them and whatever prices Boeing and SpaceX set is on them".

"But it won't come with any Hilton or Marriott points", DeWit said.

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.

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

"Right now, there's not a commercial marketplace at the moon, there's not a commercial marketplace at Mars", administrator Jim Bridenstine previously told Fox Business.

"If there was a space ETF, I would expect it would be up very, very large today", DeWit said.

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