A trip to space for private citizens might soon become a reality all thanks to NASA. National Aeronautics and Space Administration has decided to open out parts of the International Space Station for commercial opportunities, reports VOA News.
Private firms will be allowed to use the space station’s facilities for various purposes including private astronaut missions. In the past, NASA had steered clear of partaking in commercial ventures. But the cost of running the space station is catching up with them. The annual cost is currently $3 billion to $4 billion amounting to more than $8 million a day.
How will NASA benefit from this venture?
The manager of Commercial Space Utilization at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Mike Read, said:
“This is, an investment in the future for the demand for low-Earth platforms. What we want to do is leverage the station and try to enable others to turn a business model while we have the infrastructure of the space station.”
Beginning a partnership with the commercial sector will benefit NASA financially, aiding their ambitious projects in the future. One of these includes preparing a new space station around the moon and sending humans back to the lunar surface.
NASA is already in talks with 12 firms that were selected in late 2018 for this large-scale project. Beware though; a trip to space is not going to be a cheap affair. As per reports, missions involving private astronaut will be only limited to two flights a year, or about 12 astronauts per year.
The private companies will bear the travel and accommodation costs.
For now, getting to the space station is only possible by spacecraft’s developed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Boeing. NASA pays about $80 million per seat, a price that they are working to reduce to $50 million per seat, to send its astronauts.
So… are you ready?