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NASA Price Hikes Leaves Companies Confused and Frustrated

NASA has increased the prices that it charges the International Space Station’s commercial users for cargo and other resources. This move by NASA has left some companies frustrated and confused. On 25th February, NASA announced the revision in the commercial marketing pricing policy. This policy was published for the first time in June 2019 as a part of the new low Earth orbit commercialization strategy.

That policy had set aside a part of the station resources for commercial applications beyond research and development. The policy also included a price list of the resources like cargo to and from the station and crew time to carry out their work.

NASA said it was updating the price list to reflect the full reimbursement for NASA’s resources’ value. “The discussions with stakeholders, the current market growth, and in anticipation of future commercial entities capable of providing similar services,” led to this decision, says NASA. The elimination of Subsidies increased the prices of these services significantly.

The cost of transporting one kilogram of cargo up to the station is known as upmass, it went from $3000 to $20,000. The down mass price, the shipment sent from the station, went from $6000 to $40,000. Previously, one hour of crew member time cost $17,500, which is now $130,000.

Some ISS users were taken by surprise due to the sudden change in prices. An executive with one company, who spoke in the background because that company is still evaluating the impacts of the price change, was not aware of NASA’s decision to raise prices until contacted by SpaceNews.

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