NASA Opens Space Station to Commercial Business

On June 7, NASA announced a new policy allowing the International Space Station (ISS) to be used for for-profit activities, including manufacturing, tourism, and marketing. This is a change from previous policy that only allowed R&D in the U.S. elements of ISS.

To qualify, commercial and marketing activities must either:

  • Require the unique microgravity or space 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 (LEO) economy.

Commercial use of ISS will be on a first come, first served basis, with companies reimbursing NASA for crew time and other expenses according to a published price list. The pricing list is an experiment to determine how markets react to the availability of these resources on ISS. NASA intends to adjust prices as appropriate and share what is learned with industry to inform their planning for future LEO destinations.

The policy and price list are part of NASA’s five-point plan for enabling the development of a robust commercial economy for human activity in LEO:

  1. Establish a commercial use and pricing policy for the ISS
    View at NASA.gov
  2. Allow private astronauts on ISS
    View solicitation
  3. Partner with industry to develop new commercial destinations in LEO, including attachments to ISS Node 2
    View Node 2 solicitation
  4. Stimulate sustainable and scalable demand for LEO destinations
    View solicitation for commercial ISS use proposals
    View solicitation for broad demand stimulation proposals
  5. Publish a forecast quantifying NASA’s long term needs in LEO
    View at NASA.gov

A summary of all available materials is at nasa.gov/leo-economy/resources.

The Office of Space Commerce is working with NASA to help make this plan a success.

NASA is seeking public comments on their plan by July 3, 2019.
Submit/view public comments at fbo.gov

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