In an effort to make space tourism an easily accessible venture for humankind, earlier this week Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos announced his latest project, Orbital Reef . T
his massive commercial space station is not meant to rival the ISS, but “rather goes a step further to fulfill a unique position in low Earth orbit where it can serve a diverse array of companies and host non-specialist crews,” explains John Mulholland, Boeing VP and program manager for the International Space Station.
While many skeptics question the importance of space tourism at this point in time, including the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, claiming that “saving Earth should come before space tourism,” Bezos’ project, a collaboration with the rocket engine manufacturer, aims to make it accessible to all, stating that it is “designed to open multiple new markets in space… [and] provide anyone with the opportunity to establish their own address on orbit.”
The various berths on the mixed-use business park would host businesses ranging from scientific research, exploration system development, invention and manufacture of new and unique products, and media and advertising to exotic hospitality. Similar to the International Space Station, Orbital Reef supports 10 people in 830 cubic metres of volume, and has separate science and habitation zones.
“The Orbital Reef represents the next evolution of the commercial space paradigm by creating the first ever crewed private sector platform in low Earth orbit. The Orbital Reef will carry forward the singular legacy of the ISS, supporting innovative microgravity research, development, and manufacturing activities which will advance fields as diverse as communications and biotechnology,” said Mike Gold, Executive Vice President for Civil Space and External Affairs at Redwire.
“The microgravity environment presents an entirely new arena for commercial and scientific development, making Orbital Reef the platform that will launch new technologies and capabilities dramatically improving life on Earth while enabling humanity’s journey to the stars.”
While Blue Origin claims that its business venture would lower the cost of operating a business in space, the company declined to comment on how much the project would cost and how much has been invested in it.Internet Explorer Channel Network