NASA to open International Space Station to tourists from 2020

NASA says you’re now welcome aboard the International Space Station – for $58 million

The International Space Station in orbit in 2018

"But it won't come with any Hilton or Marriott points", said Nasa's chief financial officer Jeff Dewit during a news conference at Nasdaq in New York City.

The Nasa officials said some revenue from commercial activities will help the agency focus its resources on returning to the moon in 2024, a major goal of the Trump administration.

ISS deputy director Robyn Gatens said there would be two short private astronaut missions per year. Private astronauts will want regenerative life support and toilet facilities ($11,250 per person per day), supplies like food, air and exercise gear ($22,500 per person per day), power ($42 per kWh), data downlink ($50 per GB), and storage ($105 per Cargo Transfer Bag Equivalents per day).

Nasa will also allow film crews to shoot from the ISS as part of its commercialisation.

The US space agency has announced that it will be opening its doors for tourism and other business ventures.

The ISS already hosts some commercial research and development activities, but NASA intends to broaden that scope.

The trips are likely to cost each private astronaut tens of thousands of dollars.

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine suggested a year ago the agency would consider being open to branding deals, so the marketing activities aspect of today's announcement doesn't come as a surprise. The government agency will be contracting them through private companies, such as Boeing and Elon Musk's SpaceX, to transport the deep-pocketed astronauts. But when they get to station, there will be a cost.

And not just anyone can book a flight.

"We are announcing the availability for private astronauts to visit the space station on USA vehicles, and for companies to engage in profit-making activities on the station", said NASA CFO Jeff DeWit in a press briefing.

The agency will not coordinate the trips directly but plans to work with outside firms, it said on Friday. "So we expect the private sector companies to do all that".

Nasa had previously banned any commercial use of the space station and prohibited astronaut's from taking part in for-profit research. The station is expected to continue operations until 2030.

"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. "This is the first step".

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