By Kenneth Chang
Becoming a NASA astronaut is far harder than getting into Harvard, but soon, ordinary people — at least rich ones with tens of millions of dollars to blow on a big vacation — will be able to buy a rocket ride into orbit.
NASA announced on Friday that for the first time it is allowing private citizens to fly, if not to the moon, at least to the International Space Station, the only place where people currently live off the planet.
NASA is not transforming into a space travel agency. Private companies will have to pay it about $35,000 a night per passenger to sleep in the station’s beds and use its amenities, including air, water, the internet and the toilet. (The companies would charge much more to cover rocket flights to and from space, and to make a profit.)
Friday’s announcement was one of several new policies designed to allow companies to take advantage of the space station as a place for business, something that NASA has often frowned on in the past.
For roughly $35,000 a night, up to two private citizens could visit the space station each year.CreditCreditRoscosmos,via NASA
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