A consortium of companies led by Blue Origin and Sierra Space has announced plans to construct a commercial space station.
During an October 25 presentation at the 72nd International Astronautical Congress in Dubai, the consortium announced its intention to develop Orbital Reef, “a mixed-use business park” in low Earth orbit. Occupants will be allocated space aboard the station and provided with all the necessary essentials, including power, cooling, communications, robotic servicing, stowage, and logistics.
“This unique 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,” said Blue Origin in an October 25 press release.
Each of the consortium members will be responsible for a different aspect of the station’s construction, operations, and maintenance.
- Blue Origin – Construction of large space station modules and heavy-lift launch capabilities aboard New Glenn
- Boeing – Station operations and maintenance, and crew transportation aboard Starliner
- Redwire Space – Microgravity research, payload operations, and deployable structures
- Genesis Engineering Solutions – Development and operation of a single person spacecraft for routine operations and tourist excursions
- Sierra Space – Expandable modules and crew and cargo transportation aboard Dream Chaser
- Arizona State University – Research advisory services and public outreach as the head of a consortium of universities from around the world
According to the Blue Origin and Sierra Space-led consortium, the Orbital Reef space station is expected to be operational in the “second half of the decade.” However, considering the scale of the project, it will likely be closer to the end of the decade.