This is very interesting news indeed.
According to Spaceflight Now:
Wealthy space tourists could join astronauts on Boeing’s proposed commercial spaceship under a framework agreement announced Wednesday between the aerospace contractor and Space Adventures.
Boeing is developing a concept for a seven-person space capsule to ferry crews to the International Space Station and private orbital complexes beginning as soon as 2015.
“This opportunity to provide transportation services to NASA creates another opportunity to jumpstart the human migration to space,” said Brewster Shaw, Boeing’s vice president and general manager of space exploration. “One of our stated goals in our division is to become the Boeing commercial aircraft of human space commerce.”
Space Adventures is a Virgina-based firm that has negotiated eight trips to the space station on Russian Soyuz vehicles since 2001. But Soyuz seats will be filled with space station crew members in the next few years, unless Russia ramps up Soyuz production and flies more missions to address the tourism market.
Eric Anderson, co-founder and chairman of Space Adventures, said the Boeing agreement will not only “service the market, but also grow the market.”
This is awesome news and competition in the space industry will only be a good thing – it proves that private companies are taking private space travel more seriously and are willing to invest.