Blue Origin Announces ‘Orbital Reef’, The First Commercial Space Station

By: | November 2nd, 2021

Image Credit: Blue Origin

Blue Origin, a private American aerospace manufacturer founded by Jeff Bezos, has announced a partnership with Sierra Space for the development of ‘Orbital Reef’, the world’s first commercial space station.

Blue Origin will develop the utility systems, the core modules, and the launch system, while Sierra Space will undertake the development of the specialized modules and the crew’s spaceplane (“Dream Chaser”).

Due to the technical complexity of the endeavor, the two firms will also work with other American aerospace experts such as:

  • Boeing – Science module, station operations, maintenance engineering, crew spacecraft (“Starliner”)
  • Redwire Space – Microgravity research, development of deployable structures and payload systems
  • Genesis Engineering Solutions – Development of “Single Person Spacecraft” for routine operations and tourist excursions
  • Arizona State University – Research, advisory, and public outreach

Orbital Reef will be launched on low Earth orbit, and it will combine leisure with research, essentially continuing the legacy of the International Space Station in micro-gravity research, but without attempting to duplicate it.

By deploying reusable spacecraft and employing advanced automation and logistics, the developers of the project hope to minimize costs and complexity, ushering a new era in space travel, commercial uses like filming movies, and hosting cutting-edge research.


On the aspect of space tourism, people will be offered the once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience space walking safely and comfortably, and also enjoy living in zero-gravity quarters, enjoying great visibility towards our blue home, and also, of course, the stars.

The stakeholders hope that ‘Orbital Reef’ will enter full operational status in the second half of the decade, so that puts the date roughly between 2025 and 2030, but it’s too early to tell at this point.

Until then, people can visit to reserve a place in the space station or just to stay up to date with the developments on the project.

Bill Toulas

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