Blue Origin and Sierra Space have announced plans for Orbital Reef, a commercially developed, owned and operated space station to be built in low Earth orbit.
The station will “open the next chapter of human space exploration and development by facilitating the growth of a vibrant ecosystem and business model for the future”, the companies said.
Orbital Reef is backed by space industry leaders and teammates including Boeing, Redwire Space, Genesis Engineering and Arizona State University.
Designed to open multiple new markets in space, Orbital Reef will provide anyone with the opportunity to establish their own address on orbit.
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.
The station will start operating in the second half of this decade.
Orbital Reef is envisioned as a “mixed use business park” in space.
Shared infrastructure efficiently supports the proprietary needs of diverse tenants and visitors.
It features a human-centred space architecture with world-class services and amenities that is inspiring, practical, and safe.
As the premier commercial destination in low Earth orbit, Orbital Reef will provide the essential infrastructure needed to scale economic activity and open new markets in space.
“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,” said Brent Sherwood, senior vice president of advanced development programs for Blue Origin.
“We will expand access, lower the cost, and provide all the services and amenities needed to normalize space flight.
“A vibrant business ecosystem will grow in low Earth orbit, generating new discoveries, new products, new entertainments, and global awareness.”