The company plans to work with startup Sierra Space to make the space station a success, and Boeing plans to build a research module on the station, although there is no guarantee the companies can do so. . Such projects are still exceedingly expensive and risky, potentially costing tens of billions of dollars and requiring multiple safe launches before humans can float.
Blue Origin and Sierra Space plan to co-finance the space station, though officials declined to provide all cost estimates during a press conference on Monday. They also added that they look forward to signing NASA as an anchor tenant, though it’s not clear exactly how such a partnership might shape up.
NASA has called for proposals for commercial space stations as the 20-year-old International Space Station – which has hosted crews of professional astronauts from the United States, Russia and more than a hundred other countries – nears the end of its lifetime. is close . Texas-based startups, including several other companies nanorack
have made similar proposals.
Blue Origin expects Orbital Reef to become operational in late 2020, although it will take a long time to do so. The company has so far only managed a few crewed suborbital flights, such as NASA first achieved in the early 1960s, and has not yet put a spacecraft into orbit, let alone a person. Give. A space station would make a huge leap.
The New Glenn, Blue Origin-built rocket, which is expected to be powerful and large enough to carry the largest part of the space station into orbit, is not yet operational, and its First Flight
As recently as at least there was a delay to the end of 2022.
The spacecraft that can be used to transport people to and from the space station is still in the development stage. Boeing’s starliner
, for example, there have been several hiccups and a critical test flight will not take place until mid-2022.
Orbital Reef will be able to host 10 people and its internal volume will be almost the same as that of the ISS.
Several other companies were involved in Monday’s Orbital Reef announcement, which outlined proposed uses for the various space businesses and products they are developing. A company that is called Produce
is also working to develop a means of allowing astronauts to perform spacesuit-free spacewalks by putting people in vacuum sealed pods with robotic arms so that they could one day work on the exterior of such a space station.
A company called Radwire is also working on in-space manufacturing in the form of 3D printing, which could one day make it easier to produce new materials in space instead of going through the tedious and expensive process of making stuff on Earth. launch them into space
As for the operation of the space station, companies around the world – in industries ranging from pharmaceuticals to the physical sciences – can use it to conduct research into microgravity, As much as they are already on the ISS. do on
. NASA has long known the benefits of conducting research in space. In microgravity environments, physical and biological phenomena are not affected by the Earth’s pull. So, by doing the same experiments on the station that have been done on the ground, scientists can get a better fundamental understanding of how something works.