You Can Travel to Space Starting in 2020 — But…

An announcement from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States — which is more popularly known as NASA — has declared that the International Space Station will be open for commercial business starting as early as next year…

You Can Travel to Space Starting in 2020 — But…

…and part of that initiative is to allow private astronauts to visit the International Space Station and stay overnight on it.

Despite being called the International Space Station, the opportunity will only open to citizens of the United States at this time — and if you are interested, start saving your money now, as the cost will be at least $35,000.00 per night.

Private astronaut missions will use a spacecraft which was specifically developed under the Commercial Crew Program of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States. “If supported by the market, the agency can accommodate up to two short-duration private astronaut missions per year to the International Space Station. These missions will be privately funded, dedicated commercial spaceflights.”

This research announcement focus area includes additional information and outlines the path for future private astronaut missions. “The commercial entity developing the mission will determine crew composition for each mission and ensure private astronauts meet NASA’s medical standards and the training and certification procedures for International Space Station crew members. Market studies identified private astronaut missions to low-Earth orbit as a key element to demonstrate demand and reduce risk for future commercial destinations in low-Earth orbit.”

The private astronaut missions of up to 30 days on the International Space Station to perform duties must fall into the following approved commercial and marketing activities outlined in order to qualify:

  • Require the unique microgravity environment to enable manufacturing, production or development of a commercial application;
  • Have a connection to NASA’s mission; or
  • Support the development of a sustainable low-Earth orbit economy

Earn and Redeem Frequent Travel Loyalty Program Miles?

How one can earn or redeem frequent travel loyalty program points or miles for a private astronaut mission to the International Space Station is unclear at this time; but do not be surprised if someone figures it out.

Earning and redeeming miles was a possibility as many as 17 years ago. Included in this short article I wrote here at The Gate containing links to pertinent discussions posted on FlyerTalk from Saturday, August 19, 2006 is a link to a specific discussion of when the Dividend Miles frequent flier loyalty program of US Airways partnered with Space Adventures, Limited, through which you could earn up to 250,000 Dividend Miles in conjunction with a variety of space flight experiences…

…or you could have redeemed:

  • 30,000 Dividend Miles plus $650.00 for a tour of Kennedy Space Center in Florida — including a presentation by former astronauts
  • 250,000 Dividend Miles plus $2,000.00 for a flight in zero-gravity
  • 275,000 Dividend Miles plus $8,000.00 for a flight on a MiG-25 jet fighter
  • Ten million Dividend Miles for becoming an astronaut aboard a sub-orbital space flight at an altitude of 65 miles above the Earth, which would otherwise have cost you $98,000.00.

Summary

As for me, I would still definitely like to go to space — even if only in a low-Earth orbit…

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

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