From left: Jeff DeWit, Robyn Gatens and Bill Gerstenmaier speak during a press conference at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York on Friday. AFP
"Nasa is opening the International Space Station to commercial opportunities and marketing these opportunities as we've never done before," Nasa chief financial officer Jeff DeWit said in New York.
There will be up to two short private astronaut missions per year, said Robyn Gatens, deputy director of the ISS.
The missions will be for stays of up to 30 days. As many as a dozen private astronauts could visit the ISS per year, Nasa said.
These travelers would be ferried to the orbiter exclusively by the two companies currently developing transport vehicles for Nasa: SpaceX, with its Crew Dragon capsule, and Boeing, which is building one called Starliner.
These companies would choose the clients and bill for the trip to the ISS, which will be the most expensive part of the adventure: around $58 million for a round trip ticket.
That is the average rate the companies will bill Nasa for taking the space adventurers up to the ISS.
But the tourists will also pay Nasa for their stay in space, for food, water and use of the life support system on the orbiter.
That will run about $35,000 per night per astronaut, said DeWit.
The space station does not belong to Nasa. It was built along with Russia starting in 1998, and other countries participate in the mission and send up astronauts.
But the US has paid for and controls most of the modules that make up the orbiter.
The new space tourists to the ISS will not be the first: US businessman Dennis Tito had that honor in 2001. He paid Russia around $20 million for the trip.
As Earth grew ever smaller below his spacecraft, Apollo 10 commander Tom Stafford made an unusual request to mission control.
NASA engineers have recently installed the legs and wheels, known as the mobility suspension on the Mars 2020 rover, according to a latest release of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
India is looking to take a giant leap in its space programme and solidify its place among the world's spacefaring nations with its second unmanned mission to the moon, this one aimed at landing a rover near the unexplored south pole.
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, praised the efforts of the UAE’s frontline workers after zero coronavirus deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.
The president’s comments were made as the US continues to flounder in its fight against Covid-19. A total of 67,417 new cases were reported on Tuesday, the country's highest single-day jump in cases since the pandemic began.
An Indian school principal in Ajman became the latest winner of $1 million in the Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire and Finest Surprise draw held on Wednesday in Terminal 2 of Dubai International Airport.