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Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin Pursues Private Space Station

Jeff Bezos

The space company said it would help build a new space station. This is part of a bet by entrepreneurs and businesses that many future track facilities will be privately owned.

Blue Origin LLC said Monday that it is working with a unit from Sierra Nevada.

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And others will create stations intended to be operational in their first form in the second half of the last decade. The planned facility, called Orbital Reef, aims to generate revenue from private customers, including government agencies, entertainment companies and manufacturers, executives said in a briefing.

Ventures including Blue origin That’s not the only goal of running a facility in space. Last week, space company Nanoracks said it was working with a majority owner, Voyager Space.

Lockheed Martin Ltd

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We will develop a station called Starlab. Axiom Space Inc. Is also working on its own facility.

Corporate push to create your own facility is coming as NASA Preparing to dismantle the International Space Station.. The facility costs up to $ 4 billion annually to NASA and is structurally sound until 2028, but can be used beyond that year.

The artist’s impression of Starlab, the commercial space station of Nanoracks.


Photo:

Nanoracks / Voyager Space / Lockheed Martin / Cover Image / Zuma Press

Earlier this year, NASA said it would award up to four contracts, each at least $ 300 million, to support different concepts of commercial-owned destinations in orbit. NASA said in a contract document related to that effort that it envisions a future in which the agency will be one of many customers at a private station. A spokeswoman said the agency received about 12 suggestions for the station concept.

Blue Origin’s space station venture has submitted a proposal for the opportunity, but plans to move the facility forward regardless of what NASA has decided, Brent Sherwood, senior vice president of the company’s advanced development program. Said.

The market for in-orbit scientific research is understood, but the level of demand for space facilities among other potential users is not yet clear, Sherwood said. The group seeks to find customers, among other media companies, manufacturers and space travelers.

“It’s time to test these other markets,” Sherwood said.

Jeffrey Manber, CEO of Nanoracks, said he believes there will be 6-10 space stations focused on different market niches over the next few years. “We know there is a market,” he said in a recent interview.

A facility developed by Nanoracks in collaboration with Lockheed Martin, Starlab combines space hardware with Nanoracks’ expertise in running a research park that can attract customers and make the facility a success. He said.

The companies behind StarLab expect stations, including laboratories for scientific research and manufacturing applications, to be in initial operation by 2027.

SpaceX, Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin have all demonstrated that they can bring millionaires into space this summer. George Downs of the WSJ describes what each company offers to those who want to reach out to the stars.

Write in Micah Maidenberg at micah.maidenberg@wsj.com

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Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin Pursues Private Space Station

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