View of the Ocean Reef space station in orbit.
Washington – Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin on Monday revealed its plan for a private space station called “Orbital Reef,” which it will build in partnership with several space companies and expects to deploy between 2025 and 2030.
Blue Origin describes the Orbital Reef station, which can be habitable for up to 10 people, as a “mixed-use business complex” in space — as well as capable of “exotic hospitality” for space tourists.
Ocean Reef is designed to have a habitable size roughly the same as the International Space Station.
The company’s principal partner on the station is Sierra Space, a subsidiary of aerospace contractor Sierra Nevada Corporation, with the team also including BoeingAnd space redwire, Genesis Engineering.
“We are just beginning to understand the enormous implications that microgravity research, development, and industrialization can have, not just for exploring the universe and making discoveries but for improving life on Earth,” Redwire executive vice president Mike Gould told CNBC.
Redwire Space shares have been paused by the New York Stock Exchange after rising after the announcement. The stock jumped 40% in trading from its previous close at $12.16.
Blue Origin will provide “facility systems” and “base units” to the space station, and plans to use a New Glenn rocket to launch Ocean Reef.
Sierra Space contributes to its home LIFE (Large Integrated Flexible Environment; essentially inflatable space station unit), and plans to use its Dream Chaser spacecraft to transport cargo and crew to and from the station.
Redwire space Released to the public in SeptemberYou will operate the terminal’s payload operations and build deployable structures. Redwire also plans to use Orbital Reef in research, development and manufacturing in microgravity.
Boeing will build the science-focused Ocean Reef unit and manage the station’s operations, as well as perform maintenance engineering. The giant airline is also planning to take advantage of it Starliner capsule To transport crew and cargo to the station.
Genesis Engineering will contribute the “one-person spacecraft” system, which the company describes as an alternative to the spacesuit.
On a conference call with reporters, executives representing the team’s companies declined to say how much they each expect to invest in Orbital Reef.
Blue Origin vice president Brent Sherwood said the team would not provide “a definitive number” on the cost of the Ocean Reef space station, adding that the financial numbers are commercially sensitive.
For more than a year, Bezos has been looking to build a space station CNBC previously reportedand earlier this month added a number of jobs posted to the Orbital Destinations team.
Founder, Chairman, CEO, CEO and President of Amazon Jeff Bezos gives his thumbs up as he speaks during an event about Blue Origin’s space exploration plans in Washington, US, May 9, 2019.
Claudagh Killcoin | Reuters
Blue Origin has Cooperated with other major aerospace companies beforeHaving entered into a partnership with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper to build a manned lunar lander for NASA’s HLS program.
However, while the team led by Blue Origin won a $579 million prize for early development, it lost the next $2.9 billion contract to Elon Musk SpaceX earlier this year. Since then, Blue Origin has taken NASA to court, filing a lawsuit Against the space agency to reverse the lunar probe award.
With NASA planning to retire from the International Space Station by the end of the decade, the CLD program represents an effort to go out to private companies for new space stations — with the space agency expecting to save more than $1 billion annually as a result.
“We are in the second golden age of space exploration and development,” said Gold of Redwire.Last week, another private space station was announced by a separate team of companies: Nanoracks, Voyager Space and Lockheed Martin It is building a station called Starlab, which plans to be operational by 2027.
Starlab is designed to hold up to four astronauts, with about a third the size of the International Space Station.
Concept art for the space station “Starlab”
NASA has already begun to fund the ambitions of one company under a separate contract from the CLD program, after awarding Axiom Space for $140 million. Axiom plans to build modules that will connect to the International Space Station. When the ISS retires, Axiom will then detach its modules and convert it into a free-to-fly space station.
Illustration of three of the company’s modules attached to the International Space Station.