Blue Origin Is Building Its Own Private Space Station



27-10-2021
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IGN Africa
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Blue Origin has announced plans to launch a commercial space station called Orbital Reef, which the company aims to open for business in the latter half of this decade.



As reported by Space.com, the Orbital Reef station will be built in partnership with multiple other space companies, including Boeing, Sierra Space and several more. The outpost is scheduled to be up and running by the late 2020s, aligning itself as a possible successor to the International Space Station, which is expected to be retired between 2028 and 2030.



Blue Origin's press release for the newly announced project describes the Orbital Reef station as a "mixed use business park" that will be built in low Earth orbit. It will be designed to support a diverse portfolio of uses across the commerce, research, and tourism sectors and will initially feature 29,311 cubic feet of pressurized volume to accommodate up to 10 people.



Whether film-making in microgravity, opening a space hotel or conducting cutting-edge research, the website for the project suggests Orbital Reef will lease locations according to each vision. The spacious modules host distinct quarters for both living and working, with large Earth-facing windows that allow travellers to "take in the beauty of our planet."



"For over 60 years, NASA and other space agencies have developed orbital spaceflight and space habitation, setting us up for commercial business to take off in this decade," Brent Sherwood, Senior Vice President of Advanced Development Programs for Blue Origin, said in a statement as the plans for the commercial destination in space were unveiled this week.



"We will expand access, lower the cost, and provide all the services and amenities needed to normalize spaceflight," he added, offering further insight into how the team will reimagine living and working in space. "A vibrant business ecosystem will grow in low Earth orbit, generating new discoveries, new products, new entertainments and global awareness."



Other groups involved in the project include Redwire Space and Genesis Engineering Solutions together with Arizona State University — leading a consortium of universities that will act as an advisory council on research. As of now, it's unclear how much of an investment each of the partners has committed for the construction of the Orbital Reef outpost.



Blue Origin has made the headlines a few times on its mission to build a road to space. Star Trek legend William Shatner recently became the oldest person to ever reach space following the successful completion of a flight aboard the company's New Shepard rocket. It was only the second crewed outing for the ship, which had Jeff Bezos aboard for its first launch.

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