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NASA opens ISS to commercial opportunities

Jun 7, 2019, 4:33 pm

Traveling to space is very close to being a reality. The NASA announced Friday that it plans to open the International Space Station to tourists in 2020. “NASA is opening the International Space Station to commercial opportunities,” said Jeff DeWitt, the chief financial officer of the US Space Agency in New York.

For its part, NASA manager, Robyn Gatens, has clarified that “it will allow up to two short missions of private astronauts a year,” which could take almost a dozen new astronauts into space.

These “private astronauts” will be transported exclusively by the two companies that are currently developing vehicles for NASA: SpaceX, with the Crew Dragon capsule, and Boeing, which builds the Starliner capsule.

These companies will choose the clients and charge them the trip, which will be the most expensive part of the adventure: around 58 million dollars. This will include staying in orbit, food, water and the entire life support system on board. “It will cost around $ 35,000 per night, per astronaut,” remarked Jeff DeWit.

These space tourists will not be the first to arrive in space. In 2001 the first American businessman arrived. It was Dennis Tito and he paid Russia about 20 million dollars.

The International Space Station does not belong exclusively to NASA. The project began with Russia in 1998, and other countries participate and send astronauts as well.

SpaceX and Boeing will be responsible for the cost and preparation of the space trip; However, NASA will charge civilians for food, storage, and communication while they are at the station, which will cost approximately $ 35,000 per night (687,000 pesos). The objective of civil space flights is to generate additional revenue, although it is not known how much NASA will gain from this strategy.

NASA has promised that tourists can go to the moon in 2024, so this plan will serve to help raise the money needed to finance these missions.

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