NASA & Virgin Galactic Offer Private ISS Missions

Source:  NASA

Virgin Galactic's Share Price Soars
Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic and NASA announced today that they are jointly developing a program for private missions to the International Space Station (ISS).  Likely candidates for the private missions include scientific researchers, wealthy private citizens and space tourists.  The announcement sent shares of Virgin Galactic soaring by more than 14% as the NYSE opened.  Virgin Galactic, like Elon Musk's SpaceX, is building a growing portfolio of business relationships with NASA.

Virgin Galactic's Role
Virgin Galactic will identify entities interested in buying private missions to the ISS.  The cost is extremely pricey.  A ticket to and from the ISS costs an estimated $58 million plus $35,000 per night onboard the ISS.  The company will provide members of the private missions astronaut training programs, transportation and necessary resources both while in orbit and on the ground as part of the preparations for the mission.

NASA's Strategy of Working with Private Companies
NASA is increasingly working with companies like SpaceX and Virgin Galactic as it prepares for its manned mission to the Moon in 2024. NASA's strategy is to reduce costs through the partnerships. A few weeks ago, SpaceX successfully transported two US astronauts to the ISS.  That was the first launch of US astronauts from US soil in more than a decade.  NASA will debut a new space launch system for the journey to the Moon in 2021.  NASA has big plans for a long-term presence on the Moon and a manned mission to Mars during the 2020's...all of which will be accomplished with strategic business partnerships.  


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