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Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin unveils plans to build 'business park' in space

Blue Origin said that the new space station Orbital Reef will be habitable for up to 10 people. It will become operational by 2030. 

Edited by: India TV News Desk New Delhi Updated on: October 26, 2021 12:05 IST
blue origin space station
Image Source : FREEPIK

Blue Origin unveils plans to build space station 

Private aerospace company Blue Origin is planning to set up a new space station. The company, owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos, has announced that the commercial space station will be envisioned as a mixed-use business park. Its customers will include national governments, private industry and space tourists.

Blue Origin, Boeing, Sierra Space and several others have partnered to set up the new rotating laboratory in low Earth orbit. The space station will be called Orbital Reef. The plan is to deploy the outpost by the end of the decade.

Blue Origin in a press note said that the Orbital Reef will be habitable for up to 10 people. It will be a mixed use business park in space, meaning anyone can lease access to the outpost and experience breathtaking views of Earth and 32 vibrant sunrises and sunsets each day.

"Whether your business is scientific research, exploration system development, invention and manufacture of new and unique products, media and advertising, or exotic hospitality, you’ll find a berth here," it said.

Blue Origin's senior vice president of advanced development programs, Brent Sherwood, said that NASA and other space agencies for over six decades have developed orbital space flight and space habitation, "setting us up for commercial business to take off in this decade".

"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," Sherwood said.

As per the announcement made by Blue Origin, the company will be providing its New Glenn launch system for the project. Sierra Space, which is known for developing runway-landing Dream Chaser space planes, will offer the plane for transporting cargo and crews to the space station.

Boeing will handle Orbital Reef's operations and maintenance. Redwire, on the other hand, will provide payload operations and deployable structures. Genesis will offer the Single Person Spacecraft for routine external operations and tourist excursions.

Orbital Reef will eventually take the baton from the International Space Station (ISS). It will likely cease its operations in the 2028 to 2030 timeframe. There have been concerns over the condition of aging modules of the ISS. The ISS is in service for more than 20 years. Its first component was launched in 1998. The ISS is a joint program by five space agencies. They are -- NASA (US), CSA (Canada), Roscosmos (Russia), ESA (Europe), and JAXA (Japan).

Notably, Russia has already announced its exit from the ISS program. The country has proposed to set up a new space station. It will independently own the upcoming facility and operate it autonomously. Roscosmos has said that it will use the highest level artificial intelligence and robots for operations at the space station.

Russia has said that the rising maintenance cost of the ISS induced the desire to create its own orbital outpost. According to reports, the maintenance cost of the ISS is around USD 3.5 billion per year.

Apart from Russia, China is also setting up an independent space station. The facility will be called Tiangong space station. The construction work is likely to be finished by the end of 2022.


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