Cover Virgin Galactic has taken its plans for space travel to the next level, developing commercial private astronaut missions to the International Space Station. (Photo: Getty Images)

The two space organisations will join forces in order to develop commercial private astronaut missions to the International Space Station

Earlier this week, Richard Branson’s space tourism company Virgin Galactic took its plans to bring travellers into space to the next level.

The space travel venture on Monday announced that it has officially entered into a Space Act Agreement with NASA’s Johnson Space Center to “encourage commercial participation in orbital human spaceflight” to the International Space Station, which would allow for private astronaut training for short term stays in space.

The commercial space trips would not be operated by Virgin Galactic, rather, the space company would act as a travel agent of sorts; becoming a liaison between potential clients and trips to space.

Under the agreement, the space tourism company will develop a private orbital astronaut readiness program, supporting commercial clients as they prepare for their unique orbital space travel mission while personalising each customer experience. According to Virgin Galactic, private astronaut experiences could theoretically range from private citizen expeditions to government-enabled scientific research missions.

“We are excited to partner with NASA on this private orbital spaceflight program, which will not only allow us to use our spaceflight platform, but also offer our space training infrastructure to NASA and other agencies,” George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic said in a press release. “Based on the unsurpassed levels of spaceflight customer commitments we have secured to date, we are proud to share that insight in helping to grow another market for the new space economy. We want to bring the planetary perspective to many thousands of people.

Virgin Galactic has already developed its first customized Future Astronaut Readiness training program for customers flying out of the space tourism company’s home base, Spaceport America in New Mexico, which will allow passengers to become familiar with the space environment and properly prepare for such a monumental journey.

See also: The International Space Station Becomes The Next Destination You Can Visit Virtually