In a remarkable achievement, the private Orbital Reef space station of Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin finally managed to go beyond its capabilities and move a step closer to its target. It has been reported that in a ground-breaking event, the “Orbital Reef” project has made its way to the design phase after clearing the system definition review (SDR) by NASA. The team members of the project announced this milestone in a briefing on Monday. It should be noted that the “Orbital Reef” project comprises Blue Origin, Sierra Space, Boeing, and a few other companies as well as institutions.
The breakthrough demonstrates the credible nature of the project through which it became capable enough to pass the review tests and get promoted into the design phase. This is definitely a big achievement, and it could ultimately turn out to be a big win for the project. Brent Sherwood, who is a senior vice president of advanced development programs at Blue Origin, said, “This SDR moves Orbital Reef forward.” We are meeting the needs of both the commercial marketplace and NASA’s requirements. Orbital Reef will change the game for human spaceflight in Earth orbit.”
Seeing the potential of the project and the working team, NASA granted a huge amount of $130 million to the Orbital Reef project back in December 2021, under the scrutiny of the Commercial Low-Earth Orbit Development (CLDP) program. Not to mention, two further private projects also received funding under the CLDP program as well. All this is due to the fact that their findings are promising and have the potential to explore new avenues in the future.
Coupled with this, professionals are cooking up plans to make all three of the commercial space stations operational till 2027 so that we can harness their potential as well. Along with this, it is interesting to note that to foster the projections towards the International Space Station (ISS), Axiom Space has made an agreement with NASA which says that a company based in Houston will probably launch some modules to the ISS. This will be commenced in the early days of 2024, and if the mission hits the target, then the Axiom modules will be able to “eventually detach and become a free-flying commercial outpost”. This will be, no doubt, the biggest breakthrough ever in human spaceflight.