Published: Sun, March 08, 2020
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

SpaceX plans to send tourists to International Space Station

SpaceX plans to send tourists to International Space Station

Axiom is now in the process of creating an "Axiom Segment" on the ISS beginning in 2024, and when the ISS retires the habitable complex will "detach and operate as a free-flying commercial space station", according to the company. SpaceX will use their Crew Dragon capsule to bring three tourists and a staff member of Axiom, to ensure that there are no disturbances to the NASA crew, to the orbiting lab. However, according to The New York Times, Axiom had said previously that a seat would cost United States dollars 55 million (about RM230 million) and that one person had already signed up for it.

"This history-making flight will represent a watershed moment in the march toward universal and routine access to space", Axiom Chief Executive Officer Michael Suffredini said in a statement.

One seat has already been booked by an anonymous deep-pocketed space fan, reports the New York Times.

Some of the perks include spending at least eight days in microgravity at an altitude of 402 kilometres and unbeatable views of Earth from the ISS.

Axiom said the mission, scheduled for launch no earlier than the second half of 2021, will carry one Axiom professional astronaut and three private astronauts to the ISS.

Nasa has determined that the station can accommodate four private astronauts for as long as 30 days, twice a year.

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It is not yet clear how much each ticket will cost.

And general supplies - like food and air - cost $22,500 (£17,500) per astronaut each day.

A large bank balance won't be enough either: You'll have to pass Nasa's rigorous health checks and training procedures. That company has form in sending private 'nauts to the ISS, but thus far only plans to take tourists to orbit and back in the Crew Dragon. The company anticipates doing as many as two such missions a year in accordance with NASA's LEO commercialization strategy announced last June, which allows for private flights and short-term stays by commercial spaceflight participants.

"A robust low-Earth orbit economy will need multiple commercial destinations and NASA is partnering with industry to pursue dual paths to that objective that either go through the space station or directly to a free-flying destination".

It does, after all, have grand plans for its own, privately funded station, kicking off in 2024 with an "Axiom Segment" attached to the ISS.

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