Space & Astronomy
Blue Origin announces plans to build commercial space station
By T.K. Randall
October 26, 2021 · 4 comments
Orbital Reef should be up and running before 2030. Image Credit: Blue Origin
Jeff Bezos' spaceflight company has revealed its intentions to build a 'business park' in space.
Hot on the heels of its success ferrying tourists up to the edge of space, Blue Origin has now announced that it intends to build a commercial space station named Orbital Reef.
The ambitious outpost will aim to serve as an industrial and commercial hub in space, offering wealthy customers and businesses the opportunity to operate from and 'establish their own address' in orbit.
"This unique destination will offer research, industrial, international, and commercial customers the cost competitive end-to-end services they need including space transportation and logistics, space habitation, equipment accommodation, and operations including onboard crew," the press release reads.
"Orbital Reef will be operated as a 'mixed use business park' in space. Shared infrastructure efficiently supports the proprietary needs of diverse tenants and visitors. It features a human-centered space architecture with world-class services and amenities that is inspiring, practical, and safe."
The space station will be constructed, owned and operated by Blue Origin in partnership with Sierra Space - creator of the upcoming Dream Chaser spacecraft - with the backing of numerous companies and organizations including Boeing, Redwire Space and Genesis Engineering Solutions.
Both the Dream Chaser and Boeing's own Starliner spacecraft will be used to ferry cargo and passengers up to the new space station.
If all goes to plan, Orbital Reef will be fully operational before the decade is out.
"For over sixty years, NASA and other space agencies have developed orbital space flight and space habitation, setting us up for commercial business to take off in this decade," said Blue Origin's Brent Sherwood.
"We will expand access, lower the cost, and provide all the services and amenities needed to normalize space flight. A vibrant business ecosystem will grow in low Earth orbit, generating new discoveries, new products, new entertainments, and global awareness."
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