Blue Origin lays out idea for space station

Blue Origin space station
An artist’s conception shows Blue Origin’s concept for a space station. (Blue Origin / NASA Illustration)

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture has laid out a plan for building a commercial habitat for future space travelers and sending it into Earth orbit atop its New Glenn rocket.

The concept is one of a dozen studies that NASA released today as part of a project to assess how crewed space operations in low Earth orbit, or LEO, could be commercialized within the next six years or so.

NASA commissioned the studies last summer to investigate commercial alternatives to the International Space Station, in line with the current plan to move away from government management and operation of the space station’s U.S. segment by 2025. Each of the 13 teams was tasked with providing a study at a cost of no more than $1 million, with the total price tag adding up to an estimated $11 million..

In addition to Blue Origin’s concept presentation, NASA released study summaries from Axiom Space, Boeing, Deloitte Consulting, KBRwyle, Lockheed Martin, McKinsey & Co., NanoRacks, Northrop Grumman, Sierra Nevada Corp., Space Adventures and Space Systems/Loral (now part of Maxar Technologies). Bigelow Aerospace was also on NASA’s original list to do a study, but didn’t come in for a mention today.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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