back to article Commercial space station Orbital Reef's design phase passes NASA review

NASA has given the go-ahead for the first commercially owned and operated space station, Orbital Reef, to advance to design phase. The low Earth orbit coworking and coliving space is being created in partnership with Jeff Bezos-owned Blue Origin and Sierra Space, developers of the mini-shuttle Dream Chaser as well as …

  1. TeeCee Gold badge

    ... optimistic in all ways, including proposed timing.

    Yeah, yeah, overruns. Some poor bastard won't get his delivery bonus, but you can bet your bollocks that it won't be the bastard handling the proposal phase, who will have moved on by then.

    The great unspoken truth about bonus incentives is that the one thing they really incentivise is bullshitting.

    1. NoneSuch Silver badge

      You can bet...

      If Bezos designs the logistics there will be a pile of mislabeled Amazon boxes hovering just outside the airlock after the first month.

  2. Caerdwyn

    Another playground for rich narcissists

    By "tourists" and "everyone" they (Bezos) means "ego-driven publicity stunt excursions into the ultimate act of conspicuous consumption".

    That's how this all got started, after all. With Bezos strapping himself to a rocket for a look-at-me joyride. Even Ego Musk hasn't done that.

    This does not represent a "democratization" or "all of humanity" event to even the slightest degree. This is simply the highest gated community on the highest hill looking down on the most peasants possible. It's the aristocratization of space, in which the only "merit" is the size of one's wallet. Do they have the right to do this? Not sure, as there is no law or other jurisdiction in space... but at the very least we can be sure to call it what it is, and call it out for what it isn't.

    Don't lie about what you're doing up there, Bezos, Musk.

    1. Youngone Silver badge

      Re: Another playground for rich narcissists

      @ Caerdwyn

      When they say "all of humanity" they mean all the people who matter.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another playground for rich narcissists

      Maybe Bezos watched the film Elysium on Prime, and thought “I can do that!”

    3. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Another playground for rich narcissists

      True to an extent, but many things that the 'plebs' now take for granted started out as a plaything for the rich. And lets face it, there isn't the infrastructure or the capacity for 'anyone' to go to LEO let alone space.

      1. Fr. Ted Crilly Silver badge

        Re: Another playground for rich narcissists

        Tea and Coffee for instance...

        Digital watches...

        Anything made of Rose Gold...

  3. JDPower666

    If its Bezos backed it'll probably be left at a neighbouring planet.

  4. spold Silver badge


    ...better than putting your dodgy docs in the basement I suppose.

  5. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Is it just me...

    ...or does anyone else think that image looks like an F1 car designed by a committee?

  6. MonsieurTM

    Surely this should be along the lines of;

    "Evil Russia to be kicked out of ISS by 2031! Glorious capitalism rules and Bezos et al will have replacements by even earlier, permitting a potential earlier exit from the ISS."?!

    Or is that fake news?

  7. JassMan

    Is this just an excuse to ork a few cows outside of any legal jurisdiction?

    The low Earth orbit coworking and coliving space is being created in partnership with Jeff Bezos-owned Blue Origin....

    Also, will Bezos' rocket ever fly high enough to make the Amazon deliveries. All very well having access to AWS and Amazon but if the delivery man can't get there, you'll know he's lying when he says it was left with the next door neighbour.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Is this just an excuse to ork a few cows outside of any legal jurisdiction?

      It'd be funny if the only cheap way to launch it and provide a taxi service was to hire SpaceX :-)

      Even more fun would be for SpaceX to come up with a 6-way docking hub, launch 4 Starships to form a far bigger space station and still have two docking ports for the cargo ships/space taxies and have it all in place before Jeff makes it to orbit :-)

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Is this just an excuse to ork a few cows outside of any legal jurisdiction?

        Funny yes, but unlikely. The plan is still for BO to build and launch New Glenn and for NG to be man-rated. Whether that will work out remains to be seen. I highly doubt any part of this "Orbital Reef" station will ever fly. We're headed for another strong economic downturn (perhaps even severe enough for a new world war) and that's going to put a strong damper on commercial project like this

  8. ian 22

    Why deorbit the ISS?

    If the ISS is to be considered scrap, why can’t it be salvaged in orbit by a corporation? Will it be so worn that it can’t be rehabilitated? The costs of orbiting a replacement alone would seem to make salvage and rehab a bargain.

    1. JDPower666

      Re: Why deorbit the ISS?

      Yes, it is so worn that it can't be rehabilitated. Not only would it be bordering on needing a complete rebuild (impossible in orbit), but is largely outdated anyway. There's also the ongoing expense of maintenance, far higher than would be the case with a new station.

    2. WonkoTheSane

      Re: Why deorbit the ISS?

      Or, just stick some nuclear fusion engines on the back and drive it to Mars.

      (For All Mankind season 3, for the curious)

  9. Chris Coles

    Hotel's in Orbit were already suggested in 1986

    Go read The Space Chronometer; An Orbiting Clock for Humanity

  10. grndkntrl

    Surely Axiom Station is the first...‽

    ... especially given that the first module is already well under construction for them by Thales Alenia Space in Italy, and it had already received NASA's approval back in 2020.

  11. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Orbital Reef

    Great name for a space station. It's not as if no ship has ever come a cropper on a reef before.

  12. Toni the terrible Bronze badge

    Just in a while

    Call it what it may be, a base for space privateers/profiteers/pyrates after the Caribbean

  13. Spherical Cow Silver badge

    Flying cars IN SPAAAACE!

    I like the idea of the single-person suitless space craft. Zipping around in one of those would be fun!

  14. The Northerner Up North

    Business Park In Space?

    Hell of a daily commute and can you still work from home 2 or 3 days a week?

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