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Blue Origin wants to build its commercial space station


In collaboration with Sierra Space, Jeff Bezos' space company plans to create a private space station. Called "Orbital Reef

A small step for man, a big step for the commercial exploitation of space.

The companies Blue Origin and Sierra Space announced Monday that they want to build a private space station that can accommodate up to 10 people, with the aim of having it operational during "the second half of the decade".

Called "Orbital reef", it is described as a "commercial park" intended to accommodate multiple customers.

"Experienced space agencies, consortia in high technology, nations without space program, media and travel agencies, entrepreneurs and subsidized inventors, investors focused on the future, all have their place" on board, listed the companies in a statement.

"Expand access and lower costs"

This new project is yet another sign of the frantic race to commercialize low earth orbit.

Blue Origin, which has billionaire Jeff Bezos as its boss, already has activities in space tourism with its New Shepard rocket.

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“For more than six decades, NASA and other space agencies have developed orbital flights and habitat in space, setting us on the path for private business to take off this decade,” said in a statement. Brent Sherwood, Manager at Blue Origin.

“We will expand access, lower costs.


A "human-centered" architecture

Several companies will be partners in the project, in particular Boeing, which will be in charge of the scientific module and will provide the means of transport to this station: the Starliner capsule, which is still in the test phase.

The station will operate at an altitude of 500 km, or a little higher than the current International Space Station (ISS), and will measure 830 m3, or “almost as much” as the ISS.

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The resort's architecture will be "human-centered," with "large windows," Blue Origin and Sierra Space have promised.

The latter company, a subsidiary of Sierra Nevada Corporation, has in particular imagined an inflatable housing module.

“As a former NASA astronaut, I have waited a long time for the moment when working and living in space would be accessible to more people around the world, and that moment has arrived,” said Janet Kavandi, President from Sierra Space.

Many companies in the space race

Blue Origin is not the only company to want to build its space station.

Axiom Space has long announced that it wants to build its own, but it should first be attached to the ISS before taking its autonomy.

Last week, the Nanoracks company, in collaboration with the companies Lockheed Martin and Voyager Space, in turn announced that it wanted to build a commercial station called Starlab, which should be operational from 2027.


SpaceX: successful return to Earth for the four space tourists

The future of the ISS is now officially assured until 2024 and, from a technical point of view, NASA has confirmed that it will be able to operate until 2028. The head of the ISS The US space agency, Bill Nelson, has spoken in favor of its extension until 2030. But NASA strongly encourages the privatization of low orbit, hoping to save money and be able to focus on exploration missions more distant.

To read also Space: the probe Lucy left to attack the asteroids "Trojan", mysterious worlds

Source: leparis

All tech articles on 2021-10-25

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