No sooner had Nanoracks, Voyager Space and Lockheed Martin announced their plans to build a Starlab space station than no less serious competitors began to step on their heels.
For example, Blue Origin has more ambitious plans than just space tourism. The company, owned by Jeff Bezos, announced that it is working on building its own space station. Called Orbital Reef, it promises to be something of an industrial and commercial hub and should begin operations in the second half of this decade.
It will be developed, owned and operated in partnership with Sierra Space, a subsidiary of Sierra Nevada Corporation. Sierra Space is perhaps better known for the Dream Chaser, a spacecraft due to start operations in 2022 and deliver cargo to the International Space Station.
Orbital Reef is also supported by Boeing, Redwire Space, Genesis Engineering Solutions and Arizona State University. The company hopes to use Boeing’s Starliner and Sierra Space’s Dream Chaser to deliver cargo and passengers to Orbital Reef.
The company considers Orbital Reef a “business park” but in space. Blue Origin said in a press release that the destination “will offer R&D, industrial, international and commercial customers the cost-competitive, all-inclusive services they need, including space transportation and logistics, space accommodation, equipment placement and operations, including crew on board. “