American space agency Nasa has announced it is opening the International Space Station up to new commercial opportunities such as space tourism from 2020.
Up to two short-duration private astronaut missions per year to the space station will be available through privately funded, dedicated commercial spaceflights, the agency said.
Nasa will continue to carry out its own research in low-Earth orbit, but wants to work with private companies on testing new technologies, training astronauts and “strengthening the burgeoning space economy”.
The move will allow private astronaut missions on the ISS for a maximum of 30 days, leaving from a US spacecraft.
Companies will be responsible for determining their crew and ensuring they are able to meet the agency’s strict medical standards and training procedures.