NASA plans manufacturing and sports in space station

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NASA international space station

PLANS: Firm Blue Origin have proposed building a low orbit satellite for commercial use (Pic: BLUE ORIGIN )

The US space agency said yesterday they could allow companies greater access to the International Space Station to help them launch projects, publishing a series of proposals from companies.

They said: “New opportunities are needed to move beyond research and development, and the station will play an essential role in enabling those opportunities for new commercial markets needed to build a sustainable ecosystem in low-Earth orbit.”

The studies said firm could turn a profit in different ways in space, naming “in-space manufacturing of unique materials or products” and “assembly and servicing of large structures and satellites”.

Space Station

ADVANCE: Blue Origin already has the ability to launch space craft (Pic: BLUE ORIGIN )

Films, documentaries and sporting events could also be made in space, and satellites could be used for sponsorship and marketing and accommodations for space tourists, NASA added.

Firms such as defense and aerospace giants Lockheed Martin and Boeing and professional services group Deloitte all contributed to the study.

However, the high costs of moving people and cargo into space remains a barrier, NASA said, suggesting the International Space Station could be used to bring down costs.

“NASA could play a key role in helping stimulate and facilitate market growth by providing access to the space station to catalyze new markets, aid in technology development, and strengthen the burgeoning industry.

HUGE: The International Space Station is set to lose government funding (Pic: GETTY)

“Eventually NASA is expected to be a key customer to future commercially operated destinations in low-Earth orbit.”

And as more firms set up shop in space, the price could drop further, they added.

“One way to reduce transportation costs could be with economies of scale that could be achieved through a larger market.”

Last year, the US president’s budget called for an end to direct government funding to the space station by 2024.

However, some politicians are trying to pass legislation that would ensure NASA continues operating it after 2030.

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