A Closer Look at Blue Origin’s Orbital Reef Commercial Space Station

Orbital Reef commercial space station (Credit: Orbital Reef)

NASA has released the selection statement that lays out the space agency’s reasoning for awarding Nanoracks, Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman a total of $415.6 million to develop plans for private space stations under the Commercial LEO Destinations (CLD) program. The facilities are designed to maintain a permanent U.S. presence in Earth orbit when the International Space Station (ISS) is retired in 2030.

In this story, we’ll look at the Blue Origin’s Orbital Reef station. The project summary is drawn from publicly available information. Excerpts from the selection statement follow. Long paragraphs in the latter have been broken up to improve readability. Acronyms have been spelled out for the sake of clarity.

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NASA Selects Orbital Reef to Develop International Space Station Replacement

Orbital Reef commercial space station (Credit: Orbital Reef)

Louisville, Colo., December 2, 2021 (Sierra Space PR) — Orbital Reef, led by partners Blue Origin and Sierra Space, was selected today by NASA for a funded Space Act Agreement for collaboration to design a commercially owned and operated space station in low Earth orbit (LEO). NASA’s Commercial LEO Development program aims to shift NASA’s research and exploration activities in LEO to commercial space stations, helping stimulate a growing space economy before the International Space Station is retired. The Orbital Reef team includes  BoeingRedwire SpaceGenesis Engineering Solutions, and Arizona State University.

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NASA Selects Blue Origin, Nanoracks and Northrop Grumman to Develop Commercial Destinations in Space

Northrop Grumman’s free flyer commercial destination design leverages flight proven elements to provide the base module for extended capabilities including science, tourism, industrial experimentation, and building of infrastructure beyond initial design. (Credits: Northrop Grumman)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has signed agreements with three U.S. companies to develop designs of space stations and other commercial destinations in space. The agreements are part of the agency’s efforts to enable a robust, American-led commercial economy in low-Earth orbit.

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Orbital Reef Commercial Space Station Promotional Video

Video Caption: 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. Orbital Reef is backed by space industry leaders and teammates including Boeing, Redwire Space, Genesis Engineering Solutions, 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.

Learn more at OrbitalReef.com

Blue Origin, Sierra Space and Partners Unveil Plans for Orbital Reef Commercial Space Station

Orbital Reef commercial space station (Credit: Orbital Reef)

New Orbital Destination Opens Up Space For Business And Travel, Creating New
Ecosystem

KENT, Wash., October 25, 2021 (Blue Origin/Sierra Space PR) – Blue Origin and Sierra Space today 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. Orbital Reef is backed by space industry leaders and teammates including Boeing, Redwire Space, Genesis Engineering Solutions, and Arizona State University.

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