NASA Opens Space Station for Private Use

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The government agency will be contracting them through private companies, such as Boeing and Elon Musk's SpaceX, to transport the deep-pocketed astronauts.

Nasa's statement today added: "If supported by the market, the agency can accommodate up to two short-duration private astronaut missions per year to the International Space Station". Russia, however, has allowed several private astronauts on the station.

More than 50 companies are already conducting commercial research and development on the space station through the ISS US National Laboratory.

"The commercial entity developing the mission will determine crew composition for each mission and ensure private astronauts meet NASA's medical standards and the training and certification procedures for International Space Station crew members".

And it'll cost you: Upwards of $35,000 per night for room and board - and air - at the International Space Station.

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"For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon - We did that 50 years ago", Trump said on Twitter.

Private-sector astronauts - up to perhaps a dozen a year if demand is high enough - will be able to hitch rides to the station aboard Boeing or SpaceX commercial crew spacecraft now under development.

Friday's announcement was one of several new policies created to allow companies to take advantage of the space station for more commercial activities.

According to the BBC, "Nasa's announcement on Friday is part of a move towards full privatisation of the ISS".

And Axiom Space, a Houston-based company hoping to organize trips to the ISS, has pledged to charge $55 million (£43.2 million) for a 10-day trip to the ISS. "That won't come with any Hilton or Marriott points".

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The space station does not belong to NASA.

"A robust low-Earth orbit economy will need multiple commercial destinations, and NASA is partnering with industry to pursue dual paths to that objective that either go through the space station or directly to a free-flying destination". It has limited space tourism up to 2 per cent and limits the uses of the Space Station resources up to 5% to the commercial activities.

The announcement comes as the agency is trying to return humans to the moon by 2024, a mission that officials said would require significant additional funding.

Traveling to space is very close to being a reality.

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