Project of the Orbital Reef space station underwent examination by NASA

Blue Origin and Sierra Space announced that the Orbital Reef station project has passed the examination by NASA. It confirmed that the existing concept meets the advanced requirements for the functionality and performance of the orbital complex.Orbital Reef space station has passed the examination. It is planned to rent it out for various studies

Orbital Reef Space Station

The Orbital Reef station project was announced by Blue Origin and Sierra Space last year. It involves the creation of a space “business park” designed to accommodate up to ten people. The station will consist of many modules and in a fully deployed form will be comparable in volume to the ISS. It is planned to lease it for various research, technological and commercial missions.

Concept of the Orbital Reef space station. Source: Orbital Reef

Blue Origin will undertake the creation of large modules and service systems, as well as the launch of station components into orbit. To do this, it is planned to use the New Glenn rocket. Sierra Space will construct an inflatable LIFE module, which will become the crew’s residence, as well as provide a reusable Dream Chaser spaceplane. It will be used to deliver goods and people to the station.

Possible replacement of the ISS

In December 2021, NASA included Orbital Reef in the list of three promising concepts of commercial orbital stations, which will have to ensure the continuous presence of American astronauts in low-Earth orbit after the ISS operation is completed. Blue Origin has received a USD 130 million contract to develop the project.

Orbital Reef station (concept). Source: Blue Origin

According to representatives of Blue Origin, passing the examination will allow the company to continue a more detailed study of the design of the station. In turn, Sierra Space President Janet Kavandi recently announced that the first Orbital Reef modules will be ready for launch in 2027. This will give enough time to transfer from the ISS to the new station.

At the same time, many experts, including the Office of the NASA Inspector General, have already criticized the organization’s plan. In their opinion, in reality, commercial orbital stations are unlikely to be ready for launch before the end of this decade. This will lead to the fact that for some time NASA will lose the opportunity to continue research in low Earth orbit.

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