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Bezos’ ‘Orbital Reef’ space station is one step closer to becoming a reality

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In Science and Space: With the planned decommissioning of the International Space Station in 2030, NASA is under tremendous pressure to find alternatives. A joint project between Blue Origin and Sierra Space recently reached an important milestone.

“This SDR of his will propel his Orbital Reef forward,” said Brent Sherwood, his president of Advanced Development Programs at Blue Origin, in a statement from Sierra Space. “We meet both the needs of the commercial market and the requirements of NASA. Orbital Reef will change the game for human spaceflight in Earth orbit.”

NASA conducted the Orbital Reef System Definition Review (SDR) in June and July with members of Sierra Space and Blue Origin. The space agency assessed the company’s plans as viable and achievable. This means the project can move into the design phase.

The proposed space station is being developed under NASA’s Commercial Low Earth Orbit Development Program (CLD). In addition to Blue Origin and Sierra Space, joint Orbital Reef projects include Amazon Supply Chain, Amazon Web Services, Arizona State University, Boeing, Genesis Engineering Solutions, and Redwire Space. Blue Origin, led by Jeff Bezos, received his $130 million from NASA, and Colorado-based Sierra Space secured his $1.4 billion for the project last year. Axiom Space, NanoRacks and Northrop Grumman are developing their own space station under NASA’s CLD. The main purpose of the recently completed SDR was to establish a functional baseline for orbital leaves. NASA has concluded that the proposed space station meets the functional and performance requirements and that the system architecture, including component interoperability, is adequate. With this vote of confidence, Blue Origin and Sierra Space will advance Orbital Reef’s system architecture and design.

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