Blue Origin, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ space tourism company, has announced intentions to launch a commercial space station.
The station, named “Orbital Reef,” is expected to be operational by the end of the decade, according to officials.
According to promotional materials, the station would be a “mixed-use business park” in space that can accommodate up to ten people.
The outpost will be built in collaboration with Sierra Space and Boeing.
The 32,000 square foot station, according to Blue Origin, will be a great site for “filmmaking in microgravity” or “performing cutting-edge research,” and will also have a “space hotel.”
Executives from Blue Origin and Sierra Space declined to give an estimate of the building expenses at a press conference to announce the plan, however the project appears to be assured of substantial funding from Mr Bezos, who has promised to spending $1 billion (£726 million) every year on Blue Origin.
The statement comes as Nasa seeks plans to replace the International Space Station, which has been in operation for 20 years (ISS). While the station’s financing is secure until at least 2030, the outpost is in severe need of repairs. Russian officials have previously stated that its cosmonauts may leave the station by 2025 due to concerns about ageing equipment causing a big incident.
Nasa responded by announcing earlier this year that it would grant $400 million in private contracts to space businesses to help it replace the ageing outpost.
However, there will very certainly be fierce competition for the funding. Nanoracks, Voyager Space, and Lockheed Martin announced their own plans to fly a space station into low orbit by 2027 earlier this week.
This year has been a mixed bag for Blue Origin. The launch of its New Shepard rocket, which included Mr. Bezos and Star Trek actor William Shatner, attracted a lot of media attention.
Former employees have accused the corporation of sexual harassment in the workplace and of turning a blind eye to severe safety concerns.
Last month, it was outbid by billionaire Elon Musk’s Space X for a lucrative $2.9 billion NASA contract, which went to Space X, one of Blue Origin’s main competitors in the commercial space race.