NASA has recently announced that it plans to enhance travel opportunities for American astronauts. The space agency will book a seat aboard a private mission in the following years, with the length of the mention being quite brief, at around under 30 days.
The length is quite short if we take into account the fact that many missions tend to last for six months, the current period spent by astronauts above the ISS. As NASA has already run a mission that lasted for up to one year, it is not surprising that it may seek to explore the potential of shorter missions that could offer valuable information over a lower amount of time.
Ambitious missions are currently being planned as NASA aims to send crewed spacecraft towards the Moon and Mars. By using missions of various lengths, NASA will have a chance to build a thorough database that can be used to explore the psychological, behavioral, and physiological traits that are influenced by spending time in space.
NASA Plans to Book Short Private Visits to the ISS
In some contexts, the health and performance of astronauts could be affected, and this has to be avoided during deep-space missions. Private mission opportunities involve low-Earth orbit objectives. Within a 30-days timeframe, the astronauts should be able to complete the research requirements while NASA will learn more about how human spaceflight activities can influence the body.
At the same time, NASA also plans to invest more in regular-length missions. Boeing and SpaceX have been contracted by the space agency and are hard at work on the development of the CST-100 Starliner and the Crew Dragon. These ventures required a large amount of funding, but it will allow NASA to send astronauts in space without the need to negotiate with other space agencies.
Even the short-term mission could be powered by the spacecraft offered by Boeing and SpaceX, but that remains to be seen. A single-seat will be reserved for the foreseeable future.