New Delhi: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) aims to expand its current operations into commercial space tourism projects as early as 2020. This move will entitle private citizens to stay at the International Space Station (ISS) for a month’s vacation at the cost of $35,000 (or roughly Rs 24,30,000) per night, the U.S based space agency has announced. 

NASA’s Interim Directive (NID) states that the ISS will be used for commercial and marketing activities. NID’s NASA Strategic Objective 2.1 directs the space agency to “lay the foundation of America to maintain a constant human presence in low earth orbit (LEO) to be enabled by a commercial market." NASA projects to permit two private trips per year.

It is reported that Boeing and SpaceX will transport the passengers to the space station and back. The entire voyage is estimated to cost around $50 million (roughly Rs 346.9 crore) per seat. 'The space tourists, who must be from the United States, will embark on a fleet of commercial vehicles owned by the U.S. government,' said Jeff DeWit, NASA's chief financial officer.

While NASA claims that the program will enable some parts of the ISS to be opened for tourist’s recreational purposes, it could also be utilized for other commercial ventures.

NASA has mentioned that this move will not aim at generating profits. The income acquired could help cover NASA’s costs and gain investments for future projects.