NASA says it’s going to open the International Space Station up to the public. A big event held by the space agency today laid out plans for making the ISS a low-earth orbit commercial hub.
The plan not only allows for private astronauts to visit via U.S. vehicles, but also would see private business aboard the ISS, including in-space manufacturing, marketing, healthcare research and more.
Astronaut Christina Koch said from aboard the ISS, she won’t mind losing some elbow room to tourists, it was the plan all along anyway.
Private visits to the ISS would be for up to 30 days, with the first tourists expected to be flung skywards as early as 2020. It is expected the space agency could accommodate up to two short-duration visits per year. Private visits could cost up to $58 million for a return-trip ticket.
Long-term, NASA says it will be just one of many customers doing business with independent, free-flying habitats in low-Earth orbit.