Science

Blue Origin, Boeing reveal plan to build 'business park' space station

Billionaire Jeff Bezos-owned Blue Origin has unveiled plans to develop a commercial space station called "Orbital Reef" with Boeing, aiming to launch the spacecraft in the second half of this decade.

Orbital Reef could be used by space agencies, high-tech groups, nations without space programs, media

This is an artist's conception of Orbital Reef, the proposed space station from Blue Origin and Boeing that would be built by Sierra Space. (Blue Origin Media)

Billionaire Jeff Bezos-owned Blue Origin on Monday unveiled plans to develop a commercial space station called "Orbital Reef" with Boeing, aiming to launch the spacecraft in the second half of this decade.

The venture will be built in partnership with Sierra Space, the spaceflight wing of defence contractor Sierra Nevada Corp, and will be backed by Redwire Space, Genesis Engineering Solutions and Arizona State University.

Orbital Reef will be operated as a "mixed use business park," and plans to provide the infrastructure needed to scale economic activity and open new markets in space, Blue Origin and Sierra Space said.

"Seasoned space agencies, high-tech consortia, sovereign nations without space programs, media and travel companies, funded entrepreneurs and sponsored inventors, and future-minded investors all have a place on Orbital Reef," the companies said in a statement.

Sierra in April announced plans to offer the first free-flying commercial space station.

In July, Blue Origin had a successful debut space tourism flight, with Bezos and three others aboard. Earlier this month, 90-year-old Canadian actor William Shatner — Captain James Kirk of Star Trek fame — became the oldest person in space aboard a rocketship flown by Blue Origin.

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