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NASA Requirements Updates for Private Astronaut Missions

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
August 3, 2022
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NASA Requirements Updates for Private Astronaut Missions

In preparation for future announcements for additional private astronaut mission (PAM) flight opportunities, NASA is making the community aware of requirement updates that have been made since the last PAM solicitation based on lessons learned identified upon completion of the first private astronaut mission to the International Space Station, spaceflight participant (SFP) activities, and other recent civilian-crew spaceflight. These updates will be documented in SSP 51087 Private Astronaut Mission Authorization, Coordination, and Execution (PACE) Annex 1, the most updated versions of which will be provided as part of the future solicitations. Some current updates include (corresponding sections in PACE Annex 1 are identified in parentheses):

  • Clarifications associated with PAM provider and private astronaut adherence to the ISS Crew Code of Conduct and addition of the NASA Requirements for Private Astronauts (NRPA) (Section 1.4, Appendix E). Private astronauts are not US government employees; therefore, they do not have the same restrictions levied on government astronauts. The clarifications associated with the ISS Crew Code of Conduct and the addition of the NRPA delineates the acceptable types of activities for a private astronaut and the code of conduct that they must adhere to as an astronaut on the ISS.
  • Clarification and documentation of timelines associated with ISS National Lab (ISSNL) mission research requests (Section 1.4.2). Significant research activities were not originally envisioned as a primary objective for private astronaut missions. Due to the time necessary to review the research requests from a feasibility and implementation standpoint, certify payloads for operation on ISS, and go through ethical (for human research) review boards, NASA is requiring the PAM provider submit research requests to ISSNL no later than 12 months prior to the launch date.
  • Updated PAM transportation vehicle requirements for autonomous flight and PAM crew members’ sleep and hygiene activities (Section 2.2). NASA added a requirement for autonomous operation to align with the policy that a PAM transportation vehicle meets uncrewed vehicle requirements. NASA updated the requirement for sleep accommodation and hygiene location to enable greater flexibility for PAM providers in planning and execution.
  • Addition and clarification of private astronaut medical requirements and support (Section 2.4). Addition and clarification of assessments required to certify private astronaut candidates, personnel proficiency levels for PAM biomedical expert support, and details on NASA site visits to PAM quarantine facilities.
  • Documentation of private astronaut work-day schedules and constraints (Section 2.5.3). Arrival to the spaceflight environment requires adaptation time for each individual; therefore, NASA is requiring additional time for microgravity adaptation and handover activities prior to the execution of the main mission activities.
  • Addition of requirements associated with return cargo packing and mitigations prior to undock and definition of a minimum duration flight plan with prioritized activities (Section 2.5.3). Since logistics of undock and splashdown are dependent on the window of opportunities available at the time of the mission, NASA added these requirements to ensure the PAM provider meets its overall mission objective(s) and enables flexibility should a mission need to be shortened.
  • Formal delivery of a mission specific communication plan outlining all media and commercial activities (Section 3.2.5). Private astronaut missions have a broad range of technical, outreach, and commercial activities, therefore it is necessary for NASA to understand the PAM provider’s strategy and plan to release information to the public. The plan will cover all phases of flight from mission kick off through the end of the mission and includes media interactions for crew announcements, private astronaut training, commercial partnerships, prelaunch, launch, on-orbit mission operations, and return to Earth activities, as well as stakeholders’ (e.g. NASA and the US crew vehicle provider) role in this process.

Up to two (2) potential PAM provider representatives may request a copy of the latest version of PACE Annex 1 (SSP 51087) by emailing the mailbox with the following information in order to be cleared for export-controlled data:

  • Name, Company Name, Citizenship, Contact Address, Contact Phone Number, Contact email address, Government clearance (if applicable), and NASA Doman Consolidation (NDC) Username (if applicable). Foreign nationals will be required to compete a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).

NASA is also in the process of finalizing details associated with a new requirement that upcoming private astronaut missions include a former flown NASA (U.S.) government astronaut as the mission commander. A former NASA astronaut provides experienced guidance for the private astronauts during pre-flight preparation through mission execution. Based on their past on-orbit and NASA experience, the PAM commander provides a link between the resident ISS expedition crew and the private astronauts and reduces risk to ISS operations and PAM/ISS safety. Specific details of the requirement will be documented in future solicitations, as well as in updated documentation and in the solicitation technical library.

If you have any technical questions, please contact Dr. Leticia Vega at A pre-proposal conference will be held after the release of any opportunities, where the changes will be detailed further.
Thank you for your interest in private astronaut missions.

Original Notice

Related Notice

General Information
Contract Opportunity Type: Special Notice (Original)
Original Published Date: Aug 01, 2022 01:34 pm EDT
Original Response Date:
Inactive Policy: Manual
Original Inactive Date: Oct 31, 2022

Original Set Aside: Product Service Code: AR13 – Space R&D Services; Space flight, research and supporting activities; Experimental Development
NAICS Code: 541715 – Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences (except Nanotechnology and Biotechnology)
Place of Performance:


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