Astronaut of the ISS space station on a "walk"
Photo: NASA / Reuters
With a view to the possible end of the international space station ISS, the US space agency Nasa has commissioned several companies to develop new space stations, including Blue Origin from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Blue Origin received $ 130 million (about 115 million euros), the aerospace company Nanoracks from Texas 160 million dollars and the defense company Northrop Grumman from Virginia 125.6 million dollars, said NASA.
Nasa is working with US companies to develop space destinations where people could live and work, said Nasa boss Bill Nelson. To this end, the International Space Station ISS, which will probably go out of service towards the end of the decade, is to be replaced by a commercial solution.
Blue Origin announced just a few weeks ago that it was working on its own space station called "Orbital Reef" - together with several partners, including Boeing.
The largest and most durable space station to date is the ISS operated by NASA together with numerous partner authorities from all over the world, which has been permanently inhabited by changing astronauts since 2000.
Until when this will remain in operation has not yet been finally clarified.
An official decision to continue operating after 2024 is still pending.
Russia also wants to build its own space station.
"Business Park in Space"
Nasa had previously placed an order worth $ 140 million with Axiom Space.
The orders "will help ensure that the United States has a continuous human presence in low-earth orbit," said Phil McAlister, NASA director of commercial space.
The Orbital Reef space station planned by Blue Origin will accommodate up to ten people from the second half of the decade.
The planned station is described as a “mixed-use industrial area in space”, which is intended to support research and production in weightlessness.
The space station that Nanoracks is developing together with Voyager Space and Lockheed Martin is called Starlab.
The company is planning a biology laboratory, a greenhouse, a laboratory for physical sciences and materials research, and an open workbench area.
The start is targeted for 2027.
Northrop Grumman is again planning a modular station with areas for science, space tourism and industrial experiments.
Neither company has given an estimate of the total cost of developing the space stations.
McAlister said NASA's financial contribution to the projects would not exceed 40 percent.
"The amount that NASA is investing today to start this program is small compared to the money that is needed," said Blue Origin manager Brent Sherwood.
kig / dpa-AFX / AFP