The Orbital Reef Space Station May Well Be Operational By 2027

Whether some of us think it is a good idea or not, humanity is hurtling into the orbital age as we speak. The orbital age is the next industrial revolution set to take place in outer space, whereby space is set to be commercialized to help life on Earth.

And as we head into the orbital age, it is a bit concerning to hear that NASA plans to decommission the International Space Station by 2030. As such, there has been a lot of pressure on space companies to develop an alternative space station.

The good news is that the Orbital Reef Station is ready to move into the design phase of its creation and may very well be the space station to replace the aging International Space Station, which has been orbiting the Earth since 2000.

A System Definition Review for the Orbital Reef Space Station Project

Over a two-month period in June and July of 2022, NASA was able to complete a system definition review (SDR) of the Orbital Reef Space Station with two major space companies – Sierra Space and Blue Origin. And for those that aren’t quite familiar with these companies, it is important to note that Blue Origin was founded by Jeff Bezos of Amazon in 2000.

The SDR reviewed the plans for the Orbital Reef Space Station, a low Earth orbit space station set to launch by the end of the decade and will serve the purposes of tourism, commerce, and research. The results of the SDR showed that the plans for the Orbital Reef Space Station are not only viable but also achievable within the set timeframe. It also concluded that the Orbital Reef Space Station met the requirements set forth by NASA while also meeting the requirements for orbital commerce. This huge announcement launches the Orbital Reef Space Station out of the initial planning phase and into the design phase.

Moving Forward with the Orbital Reef Space Station

The Orbital Reef Space Station is set to be developed under the Commercial Low Earth Orbit Development Program (CLD) headed by NASA. Sierra Space and Blue Origin are set to head the program and have acquired the funds to get things started. Sierra Space – based out of California – has acquired $1.4 billion for the project, whereas Blue Orbit’s Bezos has gotten $130 million in funding from NASA. With the funds secured, the space companies can move forward with the system design and architectural design for the Orbital Reef Space Station. The construction for the station is expected to begin in early 2026, with the project being completed in 2027. The Orbital Reef Space Station can be operational as soon as the end of 2027!