If you’re looking for a new vacation spot that’s truly out of this world, then NASA is ready to hook you up. NASA has opened up the International Space Station to tourists and “private astronauts.” Bigelow Aerospace has reportedly “paid substantial sums as deposits and reservation fees” to Elon Musk’s space company SpaceX for four launches to the station.
Using their “Crew Dragon” capsule, SpaceX will be able to fly as many as four people to the ISS with each launch. You can plan on shelling out a cool USD$52 million dollars (or thereabouts) for this one. NASA will be charging USD$35,000 per night. If you stay for the full 30-day private astronaut mission, your total will be in the neighbourhood of USD$1,050,000.
But then, considering that those costs go to providing things like life support, air, food, energy, and data, the price tag seems worth it.
The move is a part of the future of space, with Earth’s low orbit transitioning to commercial efforts while NASA focuses on getting back to the moon. This isn’t the first time that tourists have been to the ISS—Russia has offered this service before—but it does mark a major change in policy for NASA.
“This is the beginning of us actively starting open dialogue with the industry to figure out how we can open up space to commercial activities, where revenue can be generated form private sector companies,” stated Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration.