Blue Origin’s space station project passes a major test and is closer to reality

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Access to space is no longer a privilege reserved only for a small handful of countries and their space agencies. For years the private sector, which has its own ambitions, has sought to develop its own projects, some of which have begun to take off in recent decades.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX revolutionized space transportation by drastically reducing launch costs and managing to put men in space, among other achievements. Blue Origin, by Jeff Bezos, wants to follow in the footsteps of this last company and even surpass it. Your biggest idea? The Orbital Reef private space station.

A private station in orbit

Currently, when we talk about space stations, the conversation revolves around the ISS, which already has a retirement plan, China’s Tiangong, which is still under construction, and ROSS, the Russian project that currently only has a model . But the private sector also wants its share of the limelight.

About a year ago, Blue Origin and Sierra Space announced the upcoming construction of the Orbital Reef space station. A space in orbit for a maximum of ten people that would serve to host touristswhich would enjoy the privileged views of space, and would be the axis of scientific research in microgravity.

Orbital Reef 2

The idea of ​​building a space station may be very good, but as in all projects of this magnitude, several challenges must be overcome before tangible results can be seen. In this sense, Blue Origin and Sierra Space they just received elementary approval to proceed with development.

This month NASA completed the Orbital Reef space station system definition review (SDR). The SDR consisted of an in-depth review of Blue Origin and Sierra Space’s proposal to assess its feasibility. The result, fortunately, was positive. In other words, Orbital Reef has the approval of NASA to continue on its way.

“This SDR moves Orbital Reef forward,” said Brent Sherwood, senior vice president of Advanced Development Programs at Blue Origin, it’s a statement. “We are meeting the needs of the commercial market and the requirements of NASA. Orbital Reef will be a game changer for human spaceflight in Earth orbit,” he added.

Orbital reef 4

Now that SDR is complete, the project team can move on to the next phase. You know that the work done so far meets functional and performance requirements mandated by NASA, including component interoperability. In other words, we are not yet before the final design of the space station and many things may change in the next steps.

Orbital Reef, however, is not the only private initiative of its kind. In fact, it is part of the Low Earth Orbit Commercial Destinations (CLD) program, which is shared by two other projects. Blue Origin and Sierra received an incentive of 130 million for their project; Nanoracks 160 million and Northrop Grumman 125 million.

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NASA is looking to further the development of space station concepts, like the one we’ve seen today, to cement its long-term plans for commercial space development. According to the current roadmap, the first private space stations should be ready by the end of this decadebut keep in mind that many times the initially established dates are too ambitious.

Images | Orbital Reef

Access to space is no longer a privilege reserved only for a small handful of countries and their space agencies.…

Access to space is no longer a privilege reserved only for a small handful of countries and their space agencies.…

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