TEMPE, Ariz. — NASA has awarded the company behind the Orbital Reef Space Station $130 million to go into orbit.
Orbital Reef is being designed and built by space company Blue Origin and Arizona State University will run the administration for scientific researchers.
Orbital Reef plans to launch around 2027 and continue building years after. It will be a commercial space station open to companies for research, manufacturing and tourism. Orbital Reef has partnered with multiple companies to complete the project.
"We're building the next-generation space station," said Jessica Rousset, deputy director of ASU's Interplanetary Initiative.
Rousset said Orbital Reef will be an improvement over the International Space Station, which is set to be retired in 2030.
"Here we're going to be designing it for multiple use cases," Rousset said. "You don't necessarily live where you work on Earth it will be the same in low Earth orbit."
The International Space Station has very little separation between science and research and crew living quarters. Orbital Reef will have dedicated modules for more comfort, Rousset said.
NASA announced this week that Blue Origin is one of three companies that will get a round of funding to pursue space station projects. Blue Origin said that money will go towards further refining the design.
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