Want to live in space? Blue Origin is building a commercial space station

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The images of the space station on Orbital Reef’s website look like something straight out of a blockbuster sci-fi movie.

Orbital Reef / Screenshot by CNET

Dreams of living in space come closer to reality. Blue Origin, the space startup founded by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, and Sierra Space on Monday announced plans for Orbital Reef, a commercially developed, owned and operated space station to be built in low earth orbit.

Orbital Reef, billed as a “mixed-use activity park in space,” will give customers the option of having an address in space, according to a statement. Businesses expect private companies, individuals and governments to be interested in using the facilities in orbit.

The space station will provide transport and logistics, space accommodation, accommodation of equipment and a crew on board. As the Orbital Reef market grows, so will module berths, vehicle ports, utilities and amenities. It will also welcome tourists.

“For more than 60 years, NASA and other space agencies have been developing orbital spaceflight and space homes, preparing us for commercial takeoff during this decade,” said Brent Sherwood, senior vice president of Blue Origin’s advanced development programs, in a statement. declaration.

Some of Orbital Reef’s backers include Boeing, Redwire Space, Genesis Engineering Solutions, and Arizona State University.

The news comes after major space contractors Lockheed Martin and Nanoracks last week announced plans for their own commercial space station, dubbed Starlab.

The private company Axiom Space also has similar aspirations.

Other plans for commercial space stations have emerged in recent decades, but until now human habitats in orbit have largely remained the domain of national governments, led by the International Space Station.

The ISS is currently funded until at least 2024. The debate over how long to extend the life of the station has been an almost constant conversation almost since its inception. We’ll see how the increased interest in commercial space stations may or may not shift this discussion.

Eric Mack of CNET contributed to this report.


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