Thanks to the power of film, many of us have long wanted to travel to space and see what things are like outside of this fishbowl we call a planet. Willing to pay top dollar, some billionaires have turned to companies such as Tesla, Virgin and Amazon hoping for the opportunity to get just a taste of what is like out there but now there might be a new organization throwing its hat into the ring – NASA.
That’s right, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration could join the space-for-profit game sooner rather than later, according to the Washington Post. The idea, which has recently been floated around, would be to sell tourists the equivalent of a ferry ride but on a rocket out of the Earth’s atmosphere and to the International Space Station (ISS). This is a stark transition for the space program which has long done things by the books, though it might just be another way to broaden its appeal – and make a few much-needed dollars in the process. It wouldn’t be the first government agency to do so however, as Russia has sent up wealthy citizens on several occasions since 2001, at a cost of millions to the rider, like American businessman Dennis Tito who paid $20 million to go to the station. The Russians have also considered building a luxury hotel aboard ISS, allowing the richest humans to enjoy a two-week vacation at the cost of over $20 million.
— NASA (@NASA) November 19, 2018
While there’s no timetable for NASA’s plans, since it’s basically in the brainstorming stage, it could be just what the group needs for bridging the gap with the private space flight ventures. Just think, Elon Musk’s SpaceX builds it and NASA puts the butts in the seats, isn’t that kind of how Interstellar started? The proposal for NASA sending tourists to space was backed by a NASA subcommittee late last week but would need to be approved by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and the entire advisory council before moving forward. The agency is also exploring the idea of allowing its logo for commercial use, as well as allowing its astronauts to appear in commercials. All of this to build the brand.
According to the Post, Bridenstine made it clear on Friday that the agency is looking to build a more conscious brand, stating, “The reality is, we’re in a new era now.” We sure are – and while we certainly don’t have the money, we’re still holding out hopes we can one day go up there and safely experience space, just like we see on the big screen.