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article imageNASA announces it's opening the Space Station to tourism

By Karen Graham     Jun 7, 2019 in Technology
For a mere $35,000 per night, tourists will now be able to visit the International Space Station (ISS), NASA announced on Friday. The price does not include transportation, which will run around $85,000.
The private astronaut missions could begin as soon as 2020, said NASA in a statement on Friday. The agency can accommodate up to two short-duration private astronaut missions per year to the International Space Station. These missions will be privately funded, dedicated commercial spaceflights.
NASA is making available one space station port and utilities available for industry to attach a commercial module to support commercial activities. This is all part of NASA's long-term goal to stimulate sustainable commercial demand in low-Earth orbit and, further support in-space manufacturing, regenerative medicine, bioengineering, and other fields that may lead to a scalable, financially self-sustaining demand for low-Earth orbit capabilities.
Private astronaut missions will use a U.S. spacecraft developed under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, like SpaceX's Dragon capsule, and Boeing's Starliner capsule. These space tourist trips will be working trips, according to NASA. In other words, there are no pool parties or lounging on the beach.
Specifically - Your work must either connect to NASA's mission; require "the unique microgravity environment" of the space station for your manufacturing, production or development process; or "support the development of a sustainable LEO (low Earth orbit) economy."
The SpaceX Falcon Heavy launches from Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida  on February 6 ...
The SpaceX Falcon Heavy launches from Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on February 6, 2018
Bruce WEAVER, AFP
You've also got to be in shape, meeting NASA's tough medical standards and the space station's training and certification requirements. Here is a breakdown of the cost of living in space for a short time:
Regenerative life support and toilet cost $11,250 (£8,800) per astronaut each day.
General and miscellaneous supplies – like food and air – cost $22,500 (£17,500) per astronaut each day.
Nasa will get around $35,000 (£27,000) per night that a private astronaut spends on board the ISS.
How much will the ride cost? SpaceX charges $62 million (£48.7million) to send commercial satellites into orbit
Why is NASA opening up space tourism?
Fox News is reporting that besides keeping costs down, as the ISS is very expensive to run, it is also about continuing to test space travel – to make it safer and cheaper for everyone.
"Market studies identified private astronaut missions to low-Earth orbit as a key element to demonstrate demand and reduce the risk for future commercial destinations in low-Earth orbit," NASA explained.
And we can't forget that this move is also part of a move by NASA towards full privatization of the ISS. President Donald Trump published a budget last year which called for the station to be defunded by the government by 2025.
More about NASA, International Space Station, Tourists, commercial space3 companies, partner with industry
 
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