The U.S. space agency NASA has announced that it will soon open up parts of the International Space Station (ISS) to more commercial opportunities, allowing companies unprecedented use of the space station’s facilities, including filming commercials or movies against the backdrop of space, reported The Verge.
Once implemented, this will allow private firms across the globe to use ISS for for-profit activities including marketing, advertising, off-Earth manufacturing, and even “Space Tourism”.
“We’re enabling up to two commercial flights with private astronauts per year,” said NASA’s ISS Deputy Director, Robyn Gatens. “So, depending on how many seats they want to carry, that would be a dozen or so private astronauts potentially per year on the International Space Station.”
Gatens then added, “Private astronauts from other countries can fly through a US entity”. That means ISS passenger-guests do not need to hold a US passport or hail from a space-faring nation. They do need to book their training, their ride and their up-to-30-day stay through an American space carrier.”
It is to be noted that the space station ‘ISS’ does not solely belongs to NASA or the U.S. but by four other countries — Russia, the European Partner, Japan and Canada – who are owners of their respective parts of ISS. As ISS is an assembled entity made up of a number of parts that belong to different countries and NASA would open up the part that is owned by it and not others’.
This move from NASA comes within a month after US billionaire Jeff Bezos unveiled a spacecraft named “Blue Moon”, which will land on lunar surface by 2024. The Bezos-founded firm Blue Origin was said to be working on Blue Moon spacecraft for the last three years.
Earlier this year, the chief of Indian space agency ISRO, A S Kiran Kumar, had said that he believes that India has capability, technology and infrastructure to develop its own space station but it needs approval from the government to work on the long-term plan.