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What a Space Vacation Deal
by Staffs Writers for Launchspace
Bethesda, MD (SPX) Jul 02, 2019


Three weeks ago, NASA announced a new program to entice more commercial activities on the US side of the International Space Station (ISS). Starting in 2020, the station will be open to vacationers and others at a per-night-rate of $35,000.

While this is the first time the American side of the ISS has been promoted as a high-flying hotel, there have been five tourists who have visited the Russian side of the station, starting with Dennis Tito in 2001. He spent eight days in the ISS.

The hotel room was part of a complete travel package negotiated with the Russians. The total cost was $20,000,000 including round-trip accommodations on a Soyuz spacecraft. Dennis probably thought this was an expensive trip, but he could afford it.

As it turns out, he had a great deal on the hotel accommodations and the transportation. Today, Dennis would have to pay $245,000 per week for an "American room" and probably close to $60,000,000 for the round-trip transport to and from the station.

NASA has specified certain limitations on private sector station visitors. The agency will allow only two short private astronaut missions per year, with a limit on each visit of 30 days. Such visitors must also use US transportation providers such as SpaceX and Boeing. Each private visitor will have to meet medical and training requirements for spaceflight, as imposed by private commercial entities that will manage such adventures.

In prior years NASA has banned any commercial use of the space station and prohibited astronauts from taking part in for-profit research. At the same time, the station co-owner, Russia, has taken a more relaxed approach to commerce. In fact, the prior five tourists were all accommodated by Russia and were flown to the ISS on Soyuz spacecraft.

This is all motivated by Presidential pressure to move ISS activities toward eventual complete privatization. President Trump published a budget last year which calls for the station to be defunded by the government by 2025. The obvious implication is that the station will be de-orbited if not supported through commercial activities by that time.

Related Links
Space Tourism, Space Transport and Space Exploration News

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With lions, elephants, Airbnb goes all-in on adventure tours
San Francisco (AFP) June 14, 2019
A new category of adventure travel - from tracking lions in Kenya to walking with elephants in Thailand - is now on the menu at Airbnb as the home-sharing startup expands its offerings. The new "Airbnb Adventures" unveiled Thursday will aim for unique experiences for users of its smartphone app travel service. Some of those being offered allow customers to ride camels across the Moroccan desert, kayak and bike the Mekong River valley in Vietnam or explore cowboy life in the American West. ... read more

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