At the end of last week, NASA announced plans to open the International Space Station (ISS) to private business by allowing “private astronauts” to travel to space — for astronomical prices.
Space tourists will have to shell out $58m for a ticket to the station, and then another $35k per night to stay there.
But billionaires won’t be the only ones blasting off: NASA wants to attract starry-eyed startups and other cosmos-craving companies, too.
It’s called the Commercial Crew Program
NASA is partnering with SpaceX and Boeing to offer companies ISS trips lasting up to 30 nights.
Although the ISS already hosts nonprofit researchers from 50 companies, this new program will be the first to offer for-profit companies the chance to go to space.
Commerce: NASA’s final frontier
In the past, NASA was notorious for prohibiting commercial activity in space even while Russian space agencies allowed it (7 private astronauts have already been to the ISS with Russia).
But NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is a sharp reversal of America’s space philosophy: The program also allows for-profit companies to shoot marketing and promotional materials at the space station — and even enlist the help of NASA crew members.
You know what they say… Always shoot for the moon because if you miss, you’ll land among the marketing executives.
What types of companies will go cosmic?
NASA indicated that the program would encourage in-space manufacturing, marketing projects, and health-care research.
The first private astronauts could take off for the ISS as early as 2020, and NASA will be collecting proposals from private companies for other commercial partnerships over the next several months.
Now the only question is — how is Budweiser going to make a spacesuit for a Clydesdale?