It was only 58 years ago that Alan Shepherd became the first American to fly in space. Since then countless other astronauts have ventured out of Earth’s atmosphere, but never any private citizens—at least until now.
Sure, Richard Branson and Elon Musk have tried their darndest but space tourism still isn’t a thing. However, it might soon be thanks to NASA, which recently announced it will allow tourists to live at the International Space Station for up to thirty days at a time.
Under the plan, commercial companies will be able to lease time on the ISS. Film companies could shoot advertisements or even whole movies from space. Previously, any ISS venture needed to have an educational or research element. Now, thanks to good old fashion capitalism, all you need is money—and apparently a lot of it.
A vacation on the ISS isn’t cheap at $35,000 a night and a single trip will likely cost over $50 million. Luckily, according to The New York Times, air and water are included. Plus, at this price tag, a night in space is still $5,000 cheaper than the Royal Suite at The Plaza Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. Though, NASA only plans to allow two of these commercial trips a year for up to one month at the time.
NASA administrators are also considering allowing companies to buy the naming rights to rockets so perhaps it won’t be too long before we see a McDonald’s rocketship flying Speilberg and his crew up to space to shoot a lunar version of an E.T. reboot. Before long, we can expect to see a Dunkin Donuts on every crater and a 7-Eleven on every comet.
Like I said, capitalism is great.