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US Aerospace Giant Enters Realm of Space Tourism

U.S. astronauts may soon have to make room on their ship for space tourists.

The aerospace giant Boeing announced a partnership Wednesday with a company called Space Adventures to market seats aboard a new space capsule.

Space Adventures already has organized eight trips to the International Space Station aboard Russia's Soyuz space capsule. The company's most recent client, Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laiberte, paid $35 million for a ride last October.

Boeing and Space Adventures would not say how much a trip will cost, only that the price will be competitive.

Flights on the 7-passenger Boeing capsule could start in 2015.

Boeing is developing the capsule, called the Crew Space Transportation 100, with an $18 million award from the U.S. space agency. Boeing is one of several companies developing technology to help send astronauts, cargo and people into space in the coming years.

NASA has been using its fleet of space shuttles to get astronauts into space since the early 1980s, but will retire the shuttle program next year.

U.S. President Barack Obama has proposed using NASA to develop partnerships with private companies, like Boeing, to help develop the space equivalent of airlines. Some U.S. lawmakers want to continue using NASA to pursue space exploration with government-owned rockets and other space vehicles.

Boeing officials say the cost of pursuing space transportation technology would be prohibitive without government funding.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.