A U.S. television production company called Space Hero announced on Thursday that it plans send the winning contestant of a reality TV show on a 10 day trip to the International Space Station.
The show is being produced by Propagate, a venture run by Ben Silverman and Howard T. Owens, known for making U.S. adaptations of British shows like "The Office" and "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire." The mission is scheduled for 2023 and Space Hero is working with Houston-based start-up Axiom Space to train the crew and manage the mission, as the winning candidate of the show will receive full training for the trip to the ISS and back.
"The series will search the entire globe for an everyday citizen with a deep love for space exploration. Space Hero will provide an opportunity for anyone from any background to become the first globally-elected space explorer to take part in a mission to the International Space Station," the company said in a news release.
Deadline first reported the company's announcement. While that report said the winner would fly on a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, Axiom told CNBC that the launch provider has yet to be determined.
"Along with constructing and operating the world's first privately-funded commercial space station, Axiom is the industry leader today in offering NASA-level astronaut training and full-service crewed missions to the International Space Station to all interested customers," an Axiom spokesman said in a statement to CNBC.
Space Hero's show isn't the first Hollywood project to set its sights on the ISS, nor is it the first private space tourist launch that Axiom has booked. NASA confirmed in May that it is working with actor Tom Cruise to film a movie onboard the orbiting laboratory, and Axiom in March announced a deal with SpaceX to fly three privately paying space tourists on a 10-day ISS mission in the second half of 2021.
Neither NASA, Axiom, SpaceX or Space Hero have disclosed how much it will cost per person to launch a private individual to the ISS. But recent contracts mean that it will likely cost more than $50 million per person, as NASA expects to pay SpaceX about $55 million per astronaut for missions to the ISS, and last year SpaceX had an agreement with Bigelow Aerospace to fly individuals to the ISS for $52 million per person.
In addition to the launch costs, a 10-day mission would rack up a $350,000 bill with NASA. Under the agency's cost structure unveiled last year, NASA would get $35,000 a night per person, as compensation for the agency's services a tourist would need while on board the ISS.
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