Aerospace giant Boeing and outer space tourism proprietors Space Adventures teamed up today to offer low Earth orbit (LEO) flight services onboard Boeing's future commercial crew spacecraft.
Under this agreement, Space Adventures will market passenger seats on commercial flights aboard the Boeing Crew Space Transportation-100 (CST-100) spacecraft. Boeing's (CST)-100, which is under development, can hold seven and is bigger than NASA's Apollo orbiter but smaller than NASA's Orion. Boeing says the ship will be able to launch on a variety of different rockets, including Atlas, Delta and Falcon. It will use simple systems architecture and existing, proven components, Boeing stated.
The companies did not set seating prices but said they will once full-scale development is under way. Competitor Virgin Galactic says more than 300 people have paid almost $40 million in ticket deposits to get onboard its future flights. Virgin Galactic is currently offering the sub-orbital flights for $200,000. Other space flight groups including Space Adventures can charge $3 to $5 million for space flights. Space Adventures has hosted a variety of high-profile flyers such as ex-Microsoft developer Charles Simonyi, computer game entrepreneur Richard Garriott and tech industry icon Esther Dyson.
Boeing and Space Adventures envision ppotential customers to include private individuals, companies, non-governmental organizations, and US federal agencies other than NASA.
Boeing plans to use the CST-100 to provide crew transportation to the International Space Station (ISS) and future commercial LEO platforms and Space Adventures has contracted and flown seven spaceflight participants on eight ISS missions.
"To date, all commercial flights for private spaceflight participants to the ISS have been contracted by Space Adventures. If NASA and the international partners continue to accommodate commercial spaceflight participants on ISS, this agreement will be in concert with the NASA administrator's stated intent to promote space commerce in low Earth orbit," said Brewster Shaw, vice president and general manager of Boeing's Space Exploration division in a statement.
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