Blue Origin and Sierra Space said Monday they plan to build a commercial space station in low-Earth orbit before the decade is over.
The project, which is called Orbital Reef and is designed to operate as a “mixed-use business park” in space, is backed by groups including Boeing Co., Redwire Space, Genesis Engineering Solutions, and Arizona State University. It will include infrastructure and services that will be shared by multiple tenants, such as module berths, vehicle ports, utilities and other amenities.
The station is expected to start operating in the second half of this decade.
Redwire Corp. shares climbed 16 per cent at 1:26 p.m. in New York after an earlier gain of as much as 40 per cent.
“We will expand access, lower the cost and provide all the services and amenities needed to normalize space flight,” Brent Sherwood, Blue Origin’s senior vice president of advanced development programs, said in a statement. “A vibrant business ecosystem will grow in low-Earth orbit, generating new discoveries, new products, new entertainments and global awareness.”
The competition for private space stations has been growing. Last week, Voyager Space Holdings Inc.’s Nanoracks said it plans to build a station to help replace NASA’s existing orbital laboratory, an announcement that followed similar efforts, including by Axiom Space Inc. The space agency previously said 53 companies and organizations have expressed interest in its Commercial Low-Earth Orbit Destination program.