NASA surges prices for ISS private astronaut operations

NASA surges prices for ISS private astronaut operations

NASA surges the prices it will charge for upcoming private astronaut operations to the International Space Station, telling the new prices to indicate the true costs of aiding those operations.

An alteration in the price list, in a post on April 29, informs the prices NASA charges to private operations flight to the ISS for:
  • Cargo
  • Station resources
  • Crew time
  • Other services

NASA mentions earlier this year it would revise the pricing when it revisits its charges for industrial and marketing initiatives on the station.

Under the original pricing policy released in June 2019, as part of NASA’s low Earth orbit commercialization policy, the agency charges the following:
  • $11,250 per person per day for life support and toilet facilities
  • $22,500 per person per day for other crew resources, including food and air.
  • There were extra, smaller changes for storage, power, and data.
Modifications to the policy (new pricing policy) are as follows:
  • $5.2 million per person for ISS crew time to support a private astronaut operation
  • $4.8 million per operation for assimilation and basic services, such as operation preparation
  • $88,000 and $164,000 per person per day for pre-staging food and other cargo on the station for those operations on NASA cargo vehicles. It adds for placing cargo on those spacecraft.
  • $40 and $1,500 per person per day for crew materials
  • $2,000 per person per day for food

The consequence of the new policy is a much superior cost charged by NASA to firms conducting private astronaut operations.

Old versus new policy details:

  • Under the old policy – the life support and crew supplies for a putative four-person. The one-week operation to the ISS would cost $945,000, a figure that does not comprise storage, data, or power.
  • Under the new policy, the cargo, food, and supplies costs for the same operation would be more than $2.5 million. This is at the low end of the cited cost ranges. In addition, $10 million in per-operation fees.

NASA’s assistance for private astronaut operations also came up through the May 6 meeting of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel. Susan Helms, a previous astronaut who operates on the panel, says that NASA has altered:

“Flight crew merit and accreditation practices along with earlier experiences with space travel” for dispensing with those concerns.


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