Private companies are aiming for the International Space Station
The International Space Station is open for business and private companies are making expensive plans to capitalize on it.
Why it matters: This commercialization effort by NASA is part of the agency's broader goals to welcome a broad swath of private enterprises to space to boost an economy in low-Earth orbit that will make NASA a buyer among many users instead of a sole provider.
- NASA expects that shift will allow the agency to focus on farther afield missions like getting people to the Moon and Mars.
The state of play: Last week, Estée Lauder announced NASA will fly bottles of one of the company's beauty products to the space station, where astronauts will take photos and videos of it.
- "The raw imagery will be provided back to Estée Lauder, and they intend to use them in social media posts," NASA spokesperson Stephanie Schierholz told me via email.
- The bottles will fly up to the station aboard an upcoming Northrop Grumman cargo launch currently scheduled for the end of the month.
- An unscripted show is expected to award its winner a 10-day trip to the space station in 2023, according to Deadline.
Yes, but: It isn't cheap for companies to make use of the space station and the astronauts who keep it functioning.
- Companies will be charged about $17,500 for an hour of NASA astronaut time and $11,250 per day for a private astronaut's life support and use of a toilet.
- Crew supplies — including air and food — cost $22,500 per private astronaut per day.