Office with a view is a dream for all of us, no? What might not be anyone’s fantasy is an office with the view of space and the International Space Station is offering exactly that at nearly the price of property in London.
Really worth it, no?
— Jack Fischer (@Astro2fish) June 3, 2017
The only thing is, the offices are really tiny, like 50cm x 50cm x 30cm tiny, for a grand £17,000 ($22,000). You may call the prices astronomical, quite literally, but the price of a square meter in London is £11,000.
The Finnish space startup, Space Nation has already purchased a small space on the ISS that it will use for conducting lots of experiments. The first test will involve creating a liquid mirror in zero gravity to be used in a space telescope. Annette Kauppinen, who is a partner in Space Nation says, “This experiment has never been conducted in space before – so it’s a rather unique and intriguing experiment to possibly be conducted in the first Space Nation Lab experiment.”
Space Nation is the only company known to have purchased a space in the ISS while NASA and European Space Agency remain quiet on the matter. The ESA has announced that the space station is open to “external partners” for purchase so they can conduct experiments onboard. We do not know how much the rates will vary with different space agencies, but it sure will be pricey. If you have all that money and wish to experiment in space, you can partner with one of the 15 countries’ space agencies that fund the International Space Station.
The five space agencies from the 15 nations are NASA, ESA, CSA (Canada), JAXA (Japan), and Roscosmos (Russia). All the agencies have divided the rooms aboard the station for their experiments, but since the US pays the most, it gets access to more than half of the research resources.
The International Space Station is planned to retire by 2024 or may be a while later, but it will be sold to a private company. Before that happens, the satellite needs to become commercially viable, and selling some parts to budding scientists sounds like preparation for that.