Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ space company, has scheduled the construction of Orbital Reef, a space business park offering research, industrial, international, and commercial clients end-to-end services including space transportation and logistics, space habitation, and equipment accommodation.
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According to the BBC, the space park will function as a "mixed-use business park" in the space. The shared infrastructure will support the ownership needs of diverse tenants and visitors, and will provide the essential infrastructure needed to scale economic activity and open new markets in space.
As explained by Bezos, former CEO of Amazon, the facilities have "a human-centered spatial architecture with inspiring, practical and safe services and amenities," and a station that "will provide the essential infrastructure necessary to scale the activity economic and open new markets in space,” with support for up to ten people.
Orbital Reef will rely on automation and advanced logistics, as well as reusable space transport and intelligent design to minimize the costs and complexity of its services. This way, it will allow a wide range of users to pursue their business objectives in space.
In addition, those responsible for the project indicate that the open system architecture will allow any client or nation to connect and scale to meet demand.
"Seasoned space agencies, high-tech consortia, sovereign nations without space programs, travel and media companies, funded entrepreneurs and sponsored inventors, and forward-thinking investors all have a place at Orbital Reef," explains Blue Origin in a press release.
Race To Space
The plan comes at a time when NASA is looking for proposals to replace the 20-year-old International Space Station (ISS).
“While funding for the station has been guaranteed until at least 2030, the outpost is in desperate need of repairs,” the BBC reports.
“Russian officials have previously warned that its cosmonauts could leave the station by 2025 over fears outdated equipment could trigger a major incident.”
Therefore, earlier this year, Nasa unveiled plans to award $400 million in private contracts to space businesses to work on a replacement for the old station.
Funding for this initiative is believed to be highly disputed as Nanoracks, Voyager Space, and Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT) have partnered to reveal their proposal to launch a space station into low orbit in six years.