The International Space Station will soon be open for more business -- literally. In an effort to spur commercial economy in low-Earth orbit, NASA said it plans to make the space station available to new business opportunities and private astronauts.
“Providing expanded opportunities at the International Space Station to manufacture, market and promote commercial products and services will help catalyze and expand space exploration markets for many businesses,” the space agency said.
“The agency’s ultimate goal in low-Earth orbit is to partner with industry to achieve a strong ecosystem in which NASA is one of many customers purchasing services and capabilities at lower cost,” NASA added.
The space agency is also making it possible for private astronaut missions of up to 30 days on the International Space Station to perform certain duties. The first mission could launch as early as next year. NASA said it could accommodate up to two private astronaut missions yearly to the International Space Station. These missions would use a U.S. spacecraft developed under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.