NASA will allow TOURISTS aboard the International Space Station starting in 2020

NASA is seeking to financially disengage from the orbiting research lab

NASA is seeking to financially disengage from the orbiting research lab

Undated handout photo issued by NASA of the International Space Station photographed from the space shuttle Atlantis.

NASA says it will support private mission with up to 5 per cent of its annual allocation for crew resources and cargo, which includes up to 90 hours of crew time and 175 kg of cargo.

'Enabling a vibrant economy in low-Earth orbit has always been a driving element of the space station program and will make space more accessible to all Americans, ' astronaut Christina Koch said in an announcement streamed from the ISS.

Carissa Christensen, CEO of Bryce Space and Technology, a consulting firm for the space industry, said it is a smart policy move by NASA in that it engages a broader range of industry and increases visibility for space and the Space Station.

The space agency recently announced that it planned to return to the moon by 2024, taking the first woman there and the first person in decades. Accommodations aboard the orbiting outpost will run about US$35,000 (A$50,000) per night, for trips of up to 30 days long.

But, a trip to space won't come cheap - with life support systems and all necessary supplies considered, it will cost an eye-watering $35,000 per night. For now, Nasa is making one space station port available for commercial uses "for a finite period of time".

Revenue from commercial use of the International Space Station will help offset ongoing operational costs, freeing up resources for NASA's accelerated Artemis program, which is aimed at sending astronauts back to the surface of the moon in just five years.

Up until now, NASA had not allowed ISS to be used for commercial purposes.

Other details, such as exactly who would be eligible to buy a ticket to the ISS, were not disclosed.

Donald Trump published a budget past year where he called for the station to be self financing and not reliant on government funds.

"This is great for the USA economy, and it shows the American taxpayers that NASA is using their money well", DeWit told Cheddar from the NASDAQ MarketSite. In other words, in the future, NASA wants to be the buyer of low-Earth orbit services, not the seller.

Astronauts have lived aboard the space station for more than 18 years conducting thousands of experiments.

As noted during NASA's press conference, a key factor in commercializing space will be reducing associated costs.

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