NASA to open ISS for commercial space travel from 2020
TOKYO. KAZINFORM The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said Friday it will open the International Space Station for commercial space travel from next year, KYODO reports.
The program is aimed at opening the orbiting outpost to the private sector and shifting the U.S. space agency's resources to returning American astronauts to the Moon by 2024, a major goal of President Donald Trump's administration.
However, the program carries a hefty price tag. Travelers will need to pay an estimated $58 million for a round-trip ticket, with accommodation running at about $35,000 a night, for trips of up to 30 days, according to NASA officials.
NASA will offer two privately funded trips to the space station a year to begin with, with transport to be provided by Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or Space X, and Boeing Co., two U.S. companies that are developing capsules capable of carrying humans.
Russia's space agency has brought a number of private citizens to the station.
In March, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence pledged to return American astronauts to the Moon by 2024 -- four years earlier than planned given increased competition in space from rivals such as Russia and China.
The last people to walk on the Moon were American astronauts from the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.