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Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin Unveils Private Ocean Reef Space Station

Rendering of the Ocean Reef space station in orbit.

Blue origin

WASHINGTON – Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin on Monday unveiled its plan for a private space station called Orbital Reef, which it will build in partnership with several space companies and plans to deploy between 2025 and 2030.

Blue Origin describes the Orbital Reef station, which can accommodate up to 10 people, as a “mixed-use business park” in space and also capable of providing “exotic hospitality” to space tourists.

Ocean Reef is designed to have nearly the same living volume as the International Space Station.

The company’s main construction partner is Sierra Space, a subsidiary of aerospace contractor Sierra Nevada Corporation, which also includes Boeing, Redwire Space and Genesis Engineering.

“We’re just beginning to understand the tremendous implications that research, development and manufacturing in microgravity can have on not only exploring the universe and making discoveries, but also improving life on Earth,” Mike Gold, executive vice president of Redwire, told CNBC.

Redwire Space shares were temporarily halted by the New York Stock Exchange following a sharp rise following the announcement. The stock jumped 40% from its previous close of $ 12.16.

Blue Origin will provide “support systems” and “core modules” to the space station, and plans to use its New Glenn rocket to launch Ocean Reef.

Sierra Space contributes to its LIFE (Large Integrated Flexible Environment; essentially a space station inflatable module) habitat and plans to use its Dream Chaser spacecraft to transport cargo and crew to and from the station.

Redwire Space, which went public in September, will carry out payload operations at the station and build deployable structures. Redwire also plans to use the Orbital Reef for research, development and manufacturing in microgravity.

Boeing will build the Ocean Reef science-based module and will operate the station and provide maintenance. The aerospace giant also plans to use the Starliner capsule to transport crew and cargo to the station.

Genesis Engineering will unveil its Single Spaceship System, which the company describes as an alternative to the spacesuit.

Bezos’ company has been considering building a space station for over a year, CNBC previously reported, and earlier this month added a number of job advertisements for its Orbital Directions team.

Bezos’s vision: living and working in space

Amazon Founder, Chairman, CEO and President Jeff Bezos raised his thumbs up when speaking at Blue Origin’s Space Exploration Planning event in Washington DC, USA on May 9, 2019.

Clodagh Kilcoyne | Reuters

The space station race is warming up

Concept art of the Starlab space station

Nanoreki

NASA has already begun funding one company’s ambitions under a separate contract from the CLD program, awarding Axiom Space $ 140 million. Axiom plans to build modules that will connect to the ISS. When the ISS leaves, Axiom will detach its modules and turn them into a free-flying space station.

An illustration of the company’s three modules connected to the International Space Station.

Axiom Space


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