Blue Origin and Sierra Space announced on Monday that they want to build a private space station that can accommodate up to 10 people, with the aim of operating “in the second half of the decade.”
Called the “Orbital Reef”, it is described as a “business park” that can accommodate many customers.
“Experienced aerospace agencies, high-tech federations, non-aerospace nations, media and travel agencies, subsidized entrepreneurs and innovators, and future-oriented investors all have a place,” the companies said in a statement.
This new project is another sign of the frantic race to commercialize low Earth orbit. Blue Origin, which is owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos, is already active in space travel with its New Shepard rocket.
“For more than six decades, NASA and other space agencies have been developing orbital planes and habitats in space, setting us on the path to starting private business this decade,” he said in a statement. Blue Origin manager Brent Sherwood “We will expand access, lower costs.”
Many companies will be partners in the project, especially Boeing, which is responsible for the science module and will provide transportation instructions to the station: the Starliner capsule, which is still in the testing phase.
The station will form at an altitude of 500 km – slightly higher than the current International Space Station (ISS) – and will be 830 m3 or “almost as high” as the ISS.
The architecture of the resort is “man-centered”, with “large windows”, as promised by Blue Origin and Sierra Space. The latter, a subsidiary of the Sierra Nevada Corporation, imagined a particularly inflatable housing block.
“As a former NASA astronaut, I have been waiting a long time for the moment to work and live in space for many people around the world, and that moment has come,” said Janet County, head of Sierra Space.
Other companies plan to build their own space stations. Axiom Space has long announced that it wants to create its own, first merging with the ISS before taking over its autonomy.
Last week, Nanorax announced that it would partner with Lockheed Martin and Voyager Space to create a business center called StarLap, which will be operational from 2027.
The future of the ISS is now officially confirmed until 2024, and from a technical point of view, NASA has confirmed that it can operate until 2028. Phil Nelson, President of the ISS, US Space Agency spoke. Is in favor of its extension until 2030.
But NASA strongly encourages the privatization of low orbit, which can save money and focus on long-range exploration missions.