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Blue Origin announces plans for a commercial space station

Added 10-25-21 05:09:02pm EST - “Blue Origin is planning on a commercial space station called Orbital Reef.” - Engadget.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Engadget.com: “Blue Origin announces plans for a commercial space station | Engadget”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

Blue Origin has more ambitious plans than simply space tourism. Today, the spaceflight company owned by Jeff Bezos announced that it is working on creating its very own space station as well. Called Orbital Reef, it promises to be something of an industrial and commercial hub, and is meant to start operating in the second half of this decade. 

It will be developed, owned and operated in partnership with Sierra Space, a subsidiary of the Sierra Nevada corporation. Sierra Space is perhaps better known for Dream Chaser, a spacecraft that’s set to begin operating in 2022 and carry cargo to the International Space Station. Orbital Reef is also backed by Boeing, Redwire Space, Genesis Engineering Solutions and Arizona State University. The company hopes to use Boeing’s Starliner and Sierra Space’s aforementioned Dream Chaser to ferry both cargo and passengers to Orbital Reef.

Think of Orbital Reef as essentially a “business park,” but in space. In a press release, Blue Origin said that the 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.” Anyone who wants to “establish their own address in orbit” can do so.

Blue Origin said that Orbital Reef would be habitable for up to 10 people, which is almost as much as that of the International Space Station. It will feature “human-centered space architecture” with “world-class services and amenities.” There will be multiple ports for visiting spacecraft and modules. Orbital Reef will apparently feature an open system that will enable any customer or nation to use it. As the market for such facilities grows, Blue Origin promises that Orbital Reef will scale the amenities and utilities to match.

“Seasoned space agencies, high-tech consortia, sovereign nations without space programs, media and travel companies, funded entrepreneurs and sponsored inventors, and future-minded investors all have a place on Orbital Reef,” said the company in a press release.

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