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The International Space Station. Photo: NASA

Private spaceflight companies already have big plans to capitalize on NASA opening up the International Space Station to commercial space ventures in the coming years.

Why it matters: The agency hopes by the time the station runs its course, NASA astronauts will be able to fly to privately-managed space stations in orbit instead of a government-run outpost, freeing up NASA to focus more resources on the Moon and Mars.

Driving the news: The most confident public show of support so far comes from Bigelow Space Operations, which announced plans to fly space tourists to the ISS aboard a crewed SpaceX Dragon for $52 million per seat. Private astronauts would stay aboard the station for one to two months, according to the company.

  • Bigelow already flew an inflatable module to the ISS in 2016, and the company has plans to build private stations in orbit as well.

Details: Other companies are also interested in taking NASA up on its offer to open up low-Earth orbit to commercial interests.

  • Space Adventures — which sent space tourists to the ISS in the past — praised NASA's announcement, saying they're "able to arrange flights to the ISS on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, or on the Boeing CST-100 Starliner," in a statement.
  • Other companies like NanoRacks, a long-time NASA partner on the space station, are taking a more "wait and see" approach, to decide what kind of commercial involvement makes sense in the future.
  • Axiom Space — a company focused on flying to the ISS now and building a space station of their own in the future — says the company already plans to fly to the station in 2020.

But, but, but: Even Bigelow acknowledges the challenges presented by this kind of project. SpaceX's Crew Dragon, for example, hasn't yet flown its first astronauts to the ISS for NASA, and it's unclear exactly when that might happen.

Go deeper: NASA opens ISS to private astronauts, more space companies

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: McConnell temporarily halts in-person lunches for GOP caucus.
  3. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in DecemberAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  4. Education: U.S. public school enrollment drops as pandemic persists.
  5. Cities: Surge in cases forces San Francisco to impose curfew — Los Angeles County issues stay-at-home order, limits gatherings.
  6. Sports: NFL bans in-person team activities Monday, Tuesday due to COVID-19 surge — NBA announces new coronavirus protocols.
  7. World: London police arrest more than 150 during anti-lockdown protests — Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.

Tony Hsieh, longtime Zappos CEO, dies at 46

Tony Hsieh. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic

Tony Hsieh, the longtime ex-chief executive of Zappos, died on Friday after being injured in a house fire, his lawyer told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He was 46.

The big picture: Hsieh was known for his unique approach to management, and following the 2008 recession his ongoing investment and efforts to revitalize the downtown Las Vegas area.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
15 hours ago - Economy & Business

The unicorn stampede is coming

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Airbnb and DoorDash plan to go public in the next few weeks, capping off a very busy year for IPOs.

What's next: You ain't seen nothing yet.