HomeBlue Origin unveiled plans for a future commercial space station called the Orbital Reef.

Blue Origin unveiled plans for a future commercial space station called the Orbital Reef.

Jeff Bezos’ space flight venture Blue Origin today announced plans to build its own free-flying space station. Called the Orbital Reef, the space station of the future will be operational in the second half of this decade, providing space for researchers, industrial and commercial users, and international partners to view and work, according to Blue Origin. Will

Blue Origin Space Flight Company is working on the Orbital Reef Project in partnership with Sierra Space, a subsidiary of Sierra Nevada Corporation. Sierra Space’s most famous project is the Dream Chaser, a winged spacecraft built to carry cargo شاید and perhaps people one day to the International Space Station. Dream Chaser is set to launch cargo flights in 2022. Blue Origin says the Orbital Reef also has the support of additional space flight teammates, including industry heavyweight Boeing as well as Red Wire Space, Genesis Engineering Solutions and Arizona State University.

According to Blue Origin, with the internal volume of the International Space Station, the orbital reef will be able to accommodate up to 10 people, with separate areas for living and running science. The company claims that there will be a “mixed use business park” in the orbital reef space with several ports and berths for viewing spacecraft and modules with various utilities and facilities. Blue Origin is proud that the space station will have an “open system architecture” that will allow a variety of people and users to use the facility. According to Blue Origin, the list of potential customers includes space agencies, media and travel companies, businesses and investors, tech companies and more. Blue Origin also claims that the station will provide “end-to-end” services for those wishing to use it, including transportation, leasing space, technical support with hardware, and robotic services.

“As the first commercial destination in low-Earth orbit, the Orbital Reef will provide the infrastructure needed to scale economic activity and open up new markets in space,” Blue Origin wrote in a press release.

Blue Origin has in the past hinted at plans to build a possible space station, and NASA is offering incentives to companies to pursue such projects. This year, NASA announced a new initiative called the Commercial Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Development – or CLD – program. The goal is to fund space flight companies to help start the development of private space stations that NASA can visit one day. NASA plans to provide up to 400 400 million for the initial study of these space stations through two to four space act agreements.

The CLD program is just one step in NASA’s long-term plan to eventually dismantle the government-run International Space Station and shift it to the use of commercial space stations. Currently, ISS will continue to operate until 2024, and NASA is monitoring the expansion of the program until 2028. Forever, NASA wants to retire the station and fill the low-Earth orbit – the domain of the ISS – with company-operated space stations, as NASA focuses its manned space flight efforts on deep space destinations. Is.

In September, NASA claimed to have received about a dozen proposals for the initiative. “We have received an incredibly strong response to the industry’s announcement of commercial, free flyer proposals,” Phil McAllister, director of NASA’s Commercial Space Flight, told CNBC. “I don’t remember the last time we got so many suggestions. [in response] To a [human spaceflight] Announcement of the agreement. “

NASA’s leadership has been considering such a future for many years. NASA has already signed an agreement with Axiom to build a private space station that could go ahead with the ISS as part of a previous space agency initiative. Axiom plans to turn this closed space station into a precursor to a free-flying space station in the near future.

At the moment, Blue Origin’s only operational spaceflight project is New Shepard, a submarine rocket designed to send paying customers to the edge of space and back. So far, the company has flown eight people into space on New Shepherd, including Bezos, the founder of Blue Origin. Other development projects include New Glen, a rocket designed to carry cargo and people into orbit, as well as the Blue Moon, a lunar lander that could take humans to the surface of the moon. None of these projects have been completed yet. Blue Origin had hoped to win a deal with NASA to develop a Blue Moon for the agency’s Artemis program – a move to send humans back to the moon – but the company eventually lost to a SpaceX rival. In response, Blue Origin filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Federal Court of Claims seeking NASA funding for the project.

Blue Origin, meanwhile, is embroiled in internal strife. This month, about two dozen current and former employees at the company wrote an article claiming that Blue Origin’s culture is toxic and unsafe.