Amazon and its cloud computing subsidiary, Amazon Web Services, have announced a partnership with a company formed by Jeff Bezos to promote the development of Orbital Reef, a commercial space station.
Along with Colorado-based Sierra Space, Bezos' Blue Origin space venture is one of the leaders of the Orbital Reef project. The partnership also includes Boeing, Redwire Space, Genesis Engineering, and Arizona State University.
Amazon's role in Orbital Reef, which it revealed at the 37th National Space Symposium here on Tuesday (Apr. 5), involves handling logistics through its Distribution and Fulfillment Solutions division. For the station's flight operations, development, and design teams, Amazon Web Services will provide networking, cloud computing, and communications technologies.
"We are excited to collaborate with the Orbital Reef team to reimagine logistics for space," Brett McMillen, director of strategic partners for Amazon Distribution and Fulfillment Solutions, said in a statement.
"Amazon looks forward to sharing our expertise in logistics and end-to-end supply chain infrastructure to help develop reliable infrastructure that ensures humans have the resources they need to explore, experiment and sustain long-term habitation in low Earth orbit."
The Orbital Reef commercial space station, announced in October 2021, is a collaboration effort by Blue Origin, Sierra Space, Boeing, and others (including, now, Amazon) to create a private space station that may be utilized for a wide range of commercial uses. Commercial research and manufacturing, space tourism, and media and entertainment ventures are among the potential applications, according to its supporters.
The first Orbital Reef concept asks for a baseline configuration with 29,311 cubic feet (830 cubic meters) of pressurized space and the ability to host up to 10 people at the same time.
Blue Origin will donate large-diameter modules and launch components into space with its New Glenn heavy-lift rocket. Boeing will be in charge of Orbital Reef's operations and maintenance, as well as providing some science modules and ferrying personnel to and from the station with its Starliner spacecraft. Boeing has a contract with NASA to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) using the Starliner spacecraft.
Sierra Space will construct expandable Large Integrated Flexible Environment (LIFE) modules for astronaut crews to use as living quarters. Its Dream Chaser space plane (which NASA has chosen to transfer freight to the International Space Station) could also transport cargo and humans to the Orbital Reef.
According to Blue Origin, the initial Orbital Reef station will feature a core module, LIFE module, scientific module, Genesis spacecraft, and power system.