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Sunday, December 3, 2023
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Blue Origin and Sierra Space’s Orbital Reef space station no longer in limbo.

The partnership between Blue Origin, the space company founded by Jeff Bezos, and Sierra Space, is facing challenges with their joint project, the Orbital Reef space station. While the companies announced the collaboration in 2021, updates on the project have been scarce, leading to speculation that the partnership may come to an end. Both Blue Origin and Sierra Space have other projects, such as Blue Origin’s lunar lander and Sierra Space’s Dream Chaser spaceplane, which have taken higher priority. It is increasingly likely that they will prioritize these projects over the Orbital Reef initiative.

Blue Origin had initially unveiled the Orbital Reef project alongside Sierra Space, aiming to create a commercial space station by 2027. However, it seems that neither company sees this project as a top priority. Blue Origin’s focus has shifted to its NASA contract to build a crew lunar lander, while Sierra Space is primarily devoted to the development of its reusable Dream Chaser spaceplane. Signs of the unraveling of the Orbital Reef project include the lack of updates on the project’s website and the absence of job openings related to Orbital Reef. Despite these challenges, Sierra Space has continued to test and develop its inflatable module called LIFE, which is a key component of the Orbital Reef architecture.

In conclusion, the Orbital Reef space station partnership between Blue Origin and Sierra Space is under strain, with the possibility of the collaboration ending. Other projects, such as Blue Origin’s lunar lander and Sierra Space’s Dream Chaser spaceplane, have taken precedence for both companies. While challenges remain, Sierra Space continues to work on its inflatable module, while Blue Origin focuses on its NASA contract. The future of the Orbital Reef project remains uncertain.

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