NASA opens space station to ‘private astronauts’

NASA has announced that “private astronauts” will be able to travel to the International Space Station – starting next year.

The US space agency said the “commercial spaceflights” will last up to 30 days, and those taken into orbit will perform duties that “fall into approved commercial and marketing activities”.

It will cost about $35,000 (£27,000) a night, according to US media.

If there is enough demand, there will be two such privately funded trips a year, NASA said.

The astronauts will travel on a US spacecraft and will have to meet the agency’s medical standards.

NASA said a “commercial entity” would develop each mission and “determine crew composition”.

Astronaut Christina Koch, speaking from the International Space Station (ISS), said that being there was an “incredible experience”, adding that its microgravity environment has “unique value” for research, development and technology.

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The opportunity for private citizens to travel into orbit is part of a wider opening of the ISS to commercial business.

NASA said it was taking action so that American industry’s “innovation and ingenuity can accelerate a thriving commercial economy in low-Earth orbit”.

It is aiming to land the first woman and next man on the moon by 2024. and is hoping that US companies will play an “essential role in establishing a sustainable presence”.

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Source: SKY NEWS

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