October 6, 2022
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NASA Wants to Rocket Even More Private Astronauts to Space

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NASA has a message for aspiring non-public astronauts: Come on up. On Wednesday, the space agency announced it is in search of proposals for 2 new non-public astronaut missions to the Worldwide Area Station “as a part of the company’s efforts to open house to extra individuals than ever earlier than.” These “extra individuals” will most likely want deep pockets.

The missions — which may last as long as two weeks — can be focused for 2023 and 2024. The proposals might want to contain a US industrial spacecraft that might carry the crew to the ISS. As of now, meaning a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule and a Falcon 9 rocket. Boeing continues to be engaged on getting its Starliner spacecraft prepared for people.

Whereas the ISS has hosted house vacationers earlier than, a brand new period of personal astronaut missions kicked off in earnest in April when Axiom Space launched the Ax-1 mission to the ISS in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule. A former NASA astronaut commanded the mission, main a crew of three paying vacationers. The price was reportedly $55 million (£48 million, AU$81 million) per astronaut.

Axiom signed up with NASA for a second private mission, Ax-2, which is predicted to launch in 2023. NASA presently requires all non-public missions to have a former NASA astronaut with house expertise as commander. 

The decision for brand new proposals reveals NASA’s dedication to increasing industrial alternatives in house. “We acknowledge the significance of NASA’s continued help, and are devoted to working with trade to establish areas the place our experience and distinctive capabilities help growth, as with non-public astronaut missions,” stated Angela Hart, supervisor of the industrial low-Earth orbit program.

NASA’s imaginative and prescient for low-Earth orbit includes non-public firms taking the lead on creating house stations and transportation so NASA can focus its energies on big-vision endeavors like returning people to the moon and finally sending a crew to Mars. Primarily, NASA needs to grow to be a buyer, one cog in a busy orbital economic system.

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