NASA to open ISS hatch for commercial businesses, private astronauts

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NASA to open ISS hatch for commercial businesses, private astronauts

"Nasa is opening the International Space Station to commercial opportunities and marketing these opportunities as we've never done before", the chief financial officer, Jeff DeWit, said in NY, according to the BBC.

Though NASA estimates the Commercial Crew Program and the development of new crew-carrying spacecraft by Boeing and SpaceX will bring down the cost of travel.

Astronauts have lived aboard the space station for more than 18 years conducting thousands of experiments.

The ISS program is the result of a collaboration between NASA and the various space agencies of Canada, Europe, Japan and Russian Federation.

Private astronauts will have to reimburse the government for the costs to the space station, including $11,250 a day for life support and toilets, and $22,500 a day for food, air and medical supplies.

Unfortunately, the stay won't come with any Hilton or Marriott points, DeWit joked.

"This is a momentous day for, not only NASA and the space economy, but honestly for USA industry as a whole", said the space agency's CFO Jeff DeWit.

NASA is now planning to end its support of the ISS by 2024, the same year that NASA astronauts are slated to return to the surface of the moon.

During Friday's press conference, NASA said it would also dedicate 5 percent of its resources to host the activities of private companies, including the research into and testing of new products.

The space agency revealed its plans to commercialise the ISS on Friday, in part to offset the costs of running the station.

The two aerospace giants have been working for months to get their craft ready ahead of planned tests this year, though both have been hit with setbacks throughout the process. Private astronauts can use the ISS for "missions of up to 30 days", NASA said in its announcement in NY on Friday.

NASA has announced a plan to allow tourists to fly on the International Space Station for the first time starting next year.

Eventually, NASA wants to see ISS replaced by a privately run space station.

In addition to maintaining a sustainable commercial presence in low-Earth orbit, the agency expects commercial entities to play a central role in establishing a sustainable human presence on the moon.

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