Jeff Bezos-owned Blue Origin on Monday announced plans to develop a commercial space station envisioned as a “mixed-use business park” built in low Earth orbit.
The new endeavor, dubbed the Orbital Reef, is expected to be operational by the end of the decade.
Blue Origin is teaming up with a host of other businesses for the project, including main partner Sierra Space, along with Boeing, Redwire Space, Genesis Engineering Solutions, and Arizona State University.
“Now anyone can lease access to the space environment – weightlessness and hard vacuum – and experience breathtaking views of our home planet, with 32 vibrant sunrises and sunsets each day,” the company said in a press release. “Whether your business is scientific research, exploration system development, invention and manufacture of new and unique products, media and advertising, or exotic hospitality, you’ll find a berth here.”
“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,” Blue Origin’s senior vice president of advanced development programs, Brent Sherwood, said in a statement.
“We will expand access, lower the cost, and provide all the services and amenities needed to normalize space flight,” Sherwood continued. “A vibrant business ecosystem will grow in low Earth orbit, generating new discoveries, new products, new entertainments, and global awareness.”
Blue Origin is providing its New Glenn launch system for the project, while Sierra Space is offering up its runway-landing Dream Chaser spaceplane for transporting cargo and crews.
Boeing will handle Orbital Reef’s space station operations and maintenance, Redwire is providing payload operations and deployable structures, and Genesis is “providing the Single Person Spacecraft for routine external operations and tourist excursions,” the announcement reads.
Arizona State University will provide research advisory services.