Boeing and Space Adventures join forces to make space more accessible to private citizens

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In the not too distant future, more private space tourists may be able to hop aboard a capsule for a trip into space, thanks to a new agreement between The Boeing Co. and Vienna-based Space Adventures.

The two companies have entered into a memorandum of agreement that would allow Space Adventures to market passenger seats on commercial flights aboard a Boeing capsule under development for NASA. The CST-100 spacecraft will seat up to seven people and provide transportation to the International Space Station (ISS). 

Boeing expects the capsule to be ready for operational flights by 2015.  Seats not needed by NASA could be sold to private individuals, companies, non-governmental organizations and federal agencies other than NASA.

“By combining our talents we can better offer safe, affordable transportation to commercial space flight customers,” Brewster Shaw, general manager of Boeing’s Space Exploration division, said in a statement. 

Space Adventures, founded in 1998, is the only company that provides orbital spaceflight opportunities. It already has brokered seven spaceflight trips on eight missions to the ISS aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft.  “We are excited about the potential to offer flights on Boeing’s spacecraft,” Eric Anderson, co founder and chairman of Space Adventures, said in a statement. 

The price for seating hasn’t been determined, but it won’t come cheap. At the competitive rate, NASA reportedly pays the Russian space agency more than $50 million a seat for a Soyuz flight.

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