NASA announced Friday that it will open the International Space Station for more business and private astronaut missions. “A new NASA directive will enable commercial manufacturing and production and allow both NASA and private astronauts to conduct new commercial activities aboard the orbiting laboratory,” the agency said in a statement. More than 50 companies are already doing commercial research and development on the space station. As part of the new initiative, NASA also will allow “private astronaut missions of up to 30 days” on the station to “perform duties that fall into the approved commercial and marketing activities.” The first mission will take place as early as 2020, the agency said. “If supported by the market, the agency can accommodate up to two short-duration private astronaut missions per year,” NASA said. “These missions will be privately funded, dedicated commercial spaceflights.” CNBC reported that each private trip will likely cost $50 million, and NASA will receive $35,000 per night.
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