Jeff Bezos apparently wasn’t satisfied with merely flying through space. The world’s second richest person now wants to occupy it.
Bezos’ Blue Origin on Monday announced plans to build a commercial space station by the end of the decade.
Announcing #OrbitalReef – a commercial space station transforming human space travel and opening access to new markets. Our team developing the premier commercial destination in low Earth orbit: @BlueOrigin @SierraSpaceCo @BoeingSpace @RedwireSpace @ASU https://t.co/PP4wxrfkF3 pic.twitter.com/qJDdYg7BSv
— Orbital Reef (@OrbitalReef) October 25, 2021
The Orbital Reef project will be developed in partnership with Sierra Space, a subsidiary of the defense and aerospace contractor Sierra Nevada Corporation.
The two companies describe the venture as a “mixed use business park” in space for both companies and tourists. The duo boldly declared that Orbital Reef will be “the premier commercial destination in low Earth orbit.”
A flashy promotional video for the projects depicts a CGI station comprised of spacious modules, large windows overlooking Earth, an exercise area, and flourishing space gardens.
If the project’s engineers can replicate the animation, Orbital Reef could be the perfect place to watch the world burn beneath you.
I envision Bezos turning the station into a private fiefdom that he’ll rule like an emperor. He’ll control the media, workforce, entertainment, and commerce in the territory. A bit like on Earth, but even more dominant, and more exciting for Jeff ’cause it’s in space.
Bezos’ firm is getting substantial support for the project. As well as the aforementioned partnership with Sierra Space, the venture is being backed by Boeing, Redwire Space, Genesis Engineering Solutions, and Arizona State University.
Blue Origin could probably do with all the help it can get. The company still hasn’t launched an orbital rocket, let alone an orbital space station.
Update (12:00PM CET, October 26, 2021): This article previously referred to Jeff Bezos as the world’s richest person. This was an error. Elon Musk recently overtook Bezos to reclaim the title of world’s richest person.
The error has now been corrected. We apologize profusely to Musk for the oversight, and offer our sincere condolences to Bezos.