Blue Origin and Sierra Space have disclosed that they will be launching an Orbital Reef into low-Earth orbit between 2025 and 2030.
The International Space Station will retire before 2030 and there will be a commercial module to take its place for operations. One of the proposals received for this module is from Blue Origin and Sierra Space, who aim to build Orbital Reef with the collaboration of backers Boeing, Redwire Space, Genesis Engineering Solutions, and Arizona State University.
The basics of the programs and the parties it will be serving are discussed in the outline. The large-diameter core modules and the reusable heavy-lift New Glenn launch system will place them into orbit will be built by Blue Origin. Meanwhile, Sierra Space will give a Large Integrated Flexible Environment (LIFE) module, a node module, and a Dream Chaser spaceplane for ferrying the crew, supplies, and payloads to and from Earth.
The science module will be given by Boeing and will handle station operation and maintenance engineering. The Starliner crew spacecraft will also visit the platform. Redwire Space will work on microgravity research, development, and manufacturing as well as conducting payload operations and deployable structures. Genesis Engineering Solutions is building 2001: A Space Odyssey-style space pod called the Single Person Spacecraft for outside work and tourist excursions without the need for a spacesuit, and Arizona State University will lead a global consortium of universities for research advisory and public outreach.
Orbital Reef will serve as a business park in space for several countries. The uses of the station will comprise research, manufacturing, tourism, education, and other tasks, while the partners provide space transportation and logistics, space habitation, equipment accommodation, general operations based on advanced automation, and station crew. The open architecture will enable the Orbital Reef to give module berths, vehicle ports, utilities, and will cater to other needs of the customers.
“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,” says 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.”