Blue Origin and Boeing chart course for commercial space station

Billionaire Jeff Bezos-owned Blue Origin on Monday unveiled plans to develop a commercial space station called “Orbital Reef” with Boeing, aiming to launch the spacecraft in the second half of this decade.

The venture will be built in partnership with Sierra Space, the spaceflight wing of defense contractor Sierra Nevada Corp, and will be backed by Redwire Space, Genesis Engineering Solutions and Arizona State University.

Orbital Reef will be operated as a “mixed use business park”, and plans to provide the infrastructure needed to scale economic activity and open new markets in space, Blue Origin and Sierra Space said.

Sierra in April announced plans to offer the first free-flying commercial space station.

In July, Blue Origin had a successful debut space tourism flight, with Bezos and three others aboard. Earlier this month, 90-year-old U.S. actor William Shatner – Captain James Kirk of “Star Trek” fame – became the oldest person in space aboard a rocketship flown by Blue Origin.

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