NASA is looking into ways for space tourism to be a reality in lower Earth orbit

NASA wants the International Space Station to be used for commercial purposes as well as for research.

Space is pretty out there… literally!

And NASA wants to consider the commercialisation of the lower Earth orbit in the future.

So, NASA has asked companies that are part of the growing space economy, for inputs to construct a plan for the same. This will help them decide on the future of the International Space Station (ISS) and commercial human spaceflight.

NASA selected 12 companies that have some experience in space technology for its simulation. The companies include the Boeing Company, Blue Origin, Deloitte Consulting, NanoRacks, and Maxar Technologies to name a few.

These companies looked into various possibilities for commercialising the lower Earth orbit, the region that is 2,000 km above the Earth’s surface. They looked into the rules and policies that would be needed to make this plan work and what role NASA would play in this opportunity. They also investigated habitats that people would live in and if they would be a part of the international space station or free-standing.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Sam Scimemi, Director of the International Space Station division at NASA Headquarters said, “When the International Space Station was established, we could not have anticipated all the benefits it would provide. We’re excited to receive this input from the commercial market and aerospace experts to help shape a future thriving in space economy in which companies contract with each other to conduct research and activities in low-Earth orbit.”

For all of these experiments, NASA’s ISS is the role model that they based the entire research on, as it has been in use for the past 18 years. It supports human life and it contributes to major research work.

The companies stated that they would continue with research and development as before. But they also looked into newer markets like video production, space tourism, and transportation of human, sports events, etc.

The companies have also set a timeline for the possible excursion. Each of the companies has set different timelines that start as soon as 2019-2020.

The only obstacle that the companies see is the high cost of transportation for both crew and cargo.

NASA will also award contracts worth $11 million to companies that they feel are deserving.

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.