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Tourism offering for Boeing’s proposed space taxi

The general public may one day get the chance to grab a spot on Boeing’s planned space taxi, which is being developed to ferry NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.

Boeing Commercial Crew Programme Manager John Mulholland has said that there is a planned seat for paying tourists on-board its proposed craft, with the company recently winning a US$4.2bn (€3.1bn, £2.4bn), five-year contract with NASA to develop the vehicle.

The project could see Boeing take those who have used Virginia-based space travel broker Space Adventures, which is due to prepare British singer Sarah Brightman for a 10-day visit to the station on a different craft – reported to cost a total of US$52m (€41.3m, £31m).

"Part of our proposal into NASA would be flying a Space Adventures spaceflight participant up to the ISS," Mulholland told Reuters.

"We hope… to start working with the ISS program to make it happen. We think it would be important to help spur this industry."

Boeing's first test launch of the taxi is not expected until 2017, with another contract also being handed out to California-based company SpaceX in order to design, build, test their spaceship and produce six missions to fly astronauts to the station.

SpaceX is already planning to offer tourist trips to consumers in the future, though it is not currently known whether it will offer these spots on its NASA-contracted trips.

As the possible option of wider space travel becomes more probable, a number of different bodies and organisations have looked into developing aspects of space tourism.

Earlier this year, the UK government backed plans for a four-fold expansion of the UK space industry, with the potential for an operational British spaceport within five years.

Elsewhere, Virgin has long made it aware that it intends to ferry tourists into space, with its Virgin Galactic arm already testing vehicles to offer commercial flights from Spaceport America in New Mexico.

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Space tourism: the next frontier

The general public may one day get the chance to grab a spot on Boeing’s planned space taxi, which is being developed to ferry NASA astronauts to the International Space Station. Boeing Commercial Crew Programme Manager John Mulholland has said that there is a planned seat for paying tourists on-board its proposed craft, with the company recently winning a US$4.2bn (€3.1bn, £2.4bn), five-year contract with NASA to develop the vehicle.
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The craft's primary focus will be to take astronauts to the International Space Station / Shutterstock.com/MarcelClemens
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