Blue Origin has announced plans to build a commercial space station by the end of the decade, in the company’s latest space tourism initiative.
Jeff Bezos’ spaceflight company said that the ‘mixed use business park’, called ‘Orbital Reef’, would be able to host 10 people, and could be used for a variety of purposes, including filmmaking, scientific research and leisure. At a press conference unveiling the plans, Blue Origin said the station would also host a ‘space hotel.’
‘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 company said, per Reuters.
The space station is expected to be around 32,000 ft in size, and set to be built in collaboration with Boeing and Sierra Space. Blue Origin could not confirm how much the station would cost to build, however, the BBC notes that most of Blue Origin’s operations are privately funded by Bezos, who has committed to spending at least $1bn per year on the company.
Orbital Reef would be the next step in Blue Origin’s efforts to become the dominant name in the emerging and highly lucrative space tourism market. The company has already launched two successful commercial space flights, the first of which saw founder Jeff Bezos fly to the edge of space, and the second of which saw William Shatner become the oldest person ever to go to space.
The proposals for a private space station come as NASA is reportedly looking for proposals from private space companies to help create a replacement for the International Space Station, with the agency seeking government funding to offer up to $400m in private contracts to construct a new outpost.
Blue Origin vice president Brent Sherwood said the scope of the company’s space station would likely depend on how much funding they were offered by NASA, but added that ‘we are committed to making this happen regardless.’
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