“This program will include identifying candidates interested in purchasing private astronaut missions to the ISS, the procurement of transportation to the ISS, on-orbit resources, and ground resources,” the company added.
Virgin Galactic’s own SpaceShipTwo is a suborbital spaceplane that is incapable of making it to the ISS, and the company has only sent five people to space on two suborbital test flights. The company says it has already received about 600 reservations for suborbital flights at the approximate price of $250,000 per seat.
But Virgin Galactic said it will use it existing suborbital plane for training flights, noting in the press release that the company’s “existing space experiences could play an important role in the training for orbital travel, allowing passengers to become familiar with the environment in space, such as G-forces and zero-G.”
Virgin Galactic will train candidates for missions to the ISS and added that these trips could range from private citizens to government-backed scientific and technological research missions.
The company did not mention how it intended to transport any astronauts that it trained to the space station Virgin Galactic was not immediately available for further comment. The company also did not disclose any financial terms of its deal with NASA.