Blue Origin, Boeing chart course for 'business park' in space


FILE PHOTO: Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos addresses the media about the New Shepard rocket booster and Crew Capsule mockup at the 33rd Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States April 5, 2017. REUTERS/Isaiah J. Downing/File Photo

(Reuters) - Billionaire Jeff Bezos-owned Blue Origin on Monday unveiled plans to develop a commercial space station called "Orbital Reef" with Boeing, aiming to launch the spacecraft in the second half of this decade.

The venture will be built in partnership with Sierra Space, the spaceflight wing of defense contractor Sierra Nevada Corp, and will be backed by Redwire Space, Genesis Engineering Solutions and Arizona State University.

Orbital Reef will be operated as a "mixed use business park", and plans to provide the infrastructure needed to scale economic activity and open new markets in space, Blue Origin and Sierra Space said.

"Seasoned space agencies, high-tech consortia, sovereign nations without space programs, media and travel companies, funded entrepreneurs and sponsored inventors, and future-minded investors all have a place on Orbital Reef," the companies said in a statement.

Sierra in April announced plans to offer the first free-flying commercial space station. (https://bit.ly/2ZlJ8g3)

In July, Blue Origin had a successful debut space tourism flight, with Bezos and three others aboard. Earlier this month, 90-year-old U.S. actor William Shatner - Captain James Kirk of "Star Trek" fame - became the oldest person in space aboard a rocketship flown by Blue Origin.

(Reporting by Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)

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