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 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 a.m. ET: 30,199,007 — Total deaths: 946,490— Total recoveries: 20,544, 967Map
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 a.m. ET: 6,675,593 — Total deaths: 197,644 — Total recoveries: 2,540,334 — Total tests: 90,710,730Map
  3. Politics: Former Pence aide says she plans to vote for Joe Biden, accusing Trump of costing lives in his coronavirus response.
  4. Health: Pew: 49% of Americans wouldn't get COVID-19 vaccine if available today Pandemic may cause cancer uptick The risks of moving too fast on a vaccine — COVID-19 racial disparities extend to health coverage losses.
  5. Business: Retail sales return to pre-coronavirus trend.
Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Mike Bloomberg's anti-chaos theory

CNN's Anderson Cooper questions Joe Biden last night at a drive-in town hall in Moosic, Pa., outside Scranton. Photo: CNN

Mike Bloomberg's $100 million Florida blitz begins today and will continue "wall to wall" in all 10 TV markets through Election Day, advisers tell me.

Why it matters: Bloomberg thinks that Joe Biden putting away Florida is the most feasible way to head off the national chaos we could have if the outcome of Trump v. Biden remained uncertain long after Election Day.

Biden's hardline Russia reset

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Getty Images photos: Mark Reinstein

When he talks about Russia, Joe Biden has sounded like Ronald Reagan all summer, setting up a potential Day 1 confrontation with Russian President Vladimir Putin if Biden were to win.

Why it matters: Biden has promised a forceful response against Russia for both election interference and alleged bounty payments to target American troops in Afghanistan. But being tougher than President Trump could be the easy part. The risk is overdoing it and making diplomacy impossible.