JEFF Bezos’ Blue Origin announced Monday that it wants to launch a space station that can house 10 people in the latter half of the decade.
The “orbital reef” is described as an in-space mixed-use commercial park that will support microgravity research and construction.
According to a press release, it is a joint venture with commercial space company Sierra Space and is backed by Boeing and Arizona State University.
“For more than sixty years, NASA and other space agencies have developed orbital space flight and space habitats, setting us up to begin commercial business this decade,” said Blue Origin executive Brent Sherwood.
“We will expand access, reduce costs, and provide all the services and facilities needed to normalize space flight.”
The private outpost is one of several planned in the coming years as NASA considers the future of the International Space Station after 2020.
The space agency has signed a contract with a company called Axiom to develop a space station that will initially dock with the ISS and later become free-flying.
Last week, space services company NanoRacks in collaboration with Voyager Space and Lockheed Martin announced a planned space station that would be operational by 2027 and be known as Starlab.
According to a fact sheet released by Blue Origin, Orbital Reef will fly to an altitude of just over 500 kilometers (310 miles) above the ISS, with residents experiencing 32 sunrises and sunsets a day.
It will support 10 people in a volume of 830 cubic meters (30,000 cubic feet), slightly smaller than the ISS, in a future module with huge windows.
The ISS was completed in 2011 and has long been a symbol of US-Russia space cooperation, although Moscow has recently considered the future of the partnership.
It is currently considered safe until 2028, and new administrator Bill Nelson has said he expects it to last until 2030, by which time NASA wants to advance and replace the commercial sector.
Blue Origin is currently only able to fly into suborbital space with its New Shepard rocket, which blasted Star Trek actor William Shatner beyond the atmosphere earlier this month.
Its other planned projects include New Glenn, a rocket that can carry cargo and people into orbit, and a lunar lander – although it has lost the Moon contract to rival SpaceX, and is trying to reverse that decision. suing NASA for
Thanks to e-commerce giant Amazon, Bezos, the world’s second richest man, founded Blue Origin in 2000.
His goal was to one day create floating space colonies with artificial gravity where millions of people would work and free the Earth from pollution.
These colonies will be based on a design by Gerard O’Neill, Bezos’s physics professor at Princeton, and will include counter-rotating cylinders that provide artificial gravity.
In other news, Star Trek’s 90-year-old William Shatner became the oldest astronaut in history after a Blue Origin rocket voyage earlier this month.
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