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September 16, 2010

Boeing Enters Space Tourism Business, Will Sell Passenger Flights to International Space Station

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By: BNO News
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Artist's rendering of a Boeing CST-100 spacecraft approaching a rendezvous International Space Station.
Artist's rendering of a Boeing CST-100 spacecraft approaching a rendezvous International Space Station.

Artist’s rendering of a Boeing CST-100 spacecraft approaching a rendezvous International Space Station.

The Boeing Company on Wednesday announced that it has established a memorandum of agreement with Space Adventures, Ltd. regarding the marketing of anticipated transportation services to destinations in low Earth orbit (LEO) on Boeing commercial crew spacecraft.

Under the agreement, Space Adventures, which is headquartered in Vienna, Virginia, will market passenger seats on commercial flights aboard the Boeing Crew Space Transportation-100 (CST-100) spacecraft to LEO.

Potential customers for excess seating capacity include private individuals, companies, non-governmental organizations, and U.S. federal agencies other than NASA. Boeing plans to use the CST-100 to provide crew transportation to the International Space Station (ISS) and future commercial LEO platforms.

“By combining our talents, we can better offer safe, affordable transportation to commercial spaceflight customers,” said Brewster Shaw, vice president and general manager of Boeing’s Space Exploration division.

Boeing and Space Adventures have not yet set a price per seat for spaceflight participants, but will do so when full-scale development is under way as it continues to advance its design for the CST-100 spacecraft under NASA’s Commercial Crew Development Space Act Agreement.

The spacecraft, which can carry seven people, will be able to fly on multiple launch vehicles and is expected to be operational by 2015.

“To date, all commercial flights for private spaceflight participants to the ISS have been contracted by Space Adventures. If NASA and the international partners continue to accommodate commercial spaceflight participants on ISS, this agreement will be in concert with the NASA administrator’s stated intent to promote space commerce in low Earth orbit,” Shaw added.

Eric Anderson, co-founder and chairman of Space Adventures said to be “excited” about the potential offer these flights.

“With our customer experience and Boeing’s heritage in human spaceflight, our goal is not only to benefit the individuals who fly to space, but also to help make the resources of space available to the commercial sector by bringing the value from space back to Earth,” Anderson said.

Space Adventures has successfully contracted and flown seven spaceflight participants on eight missions to the International Space Station.