Bezos’s Plan For The First Private Space Station Just Passed Four Key Milestones

Bezos’s Plan For The First Private Space Station Just Passed Four Key Milestones

Bezos’s Plan For The First Private Space Station Just Passed Four Key Milestones

In the near future, astronauts and private citizens might be able to travel to space and spend time in the Orbital Reef – a private space station for long-term living and used for commerce, research, and tourism. The project, headed by Sierra Space and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, aims to be operational in low-Earth orbit by 2027 and it has just passed important NASA tests.



The NASA-funded commercial space station needs to demonstrate that its critical life-support system will work as it should. The latest four milestones were about air and water purification, storage, and recycling.

Nothing is wasted in space – not even waste – so air needs to be scrubbed of carbon dioxide and return oxygen. Water, including urine, needs to be reclaimed and cleaned but kept in the system. It is neither cheap nor easy to get new air or new water in orbit.

“These milestones are critical to ensuring that a commercial destination can support human life so NASA astronauts can continue to have access to low Earth orbit to conduct important scientific research in the unique microgravity environment,” Angela Hart, manager of NASA’s Commercial Low Earth Orbit Development Program, said in a statement. “Additionally, each milestone that is completed allows NASA to gain insight into our partner’s progress on station design and development.”

One of the tests focused on the trace contaminant control test – the ability of filters to remove harmful impurities from the air. The water system was tested in three ways: a water containment oxidation test to check how the water is cleaned; urine water recovery tests focused on the reclaim of waste; and last, but not least, a water tank test to assess how water is stored in the system.

The International Space Station has systems like this in place and they guarantee environmental control and the welfare of astronauts. 

This is not the only successful test for Orbital Reef we have seen recently. In January, Sierra Space pushed its inflatable station module LIFE (Large Integrated Flexible Environment) to the limits until it exploded. LIFE exceeded NASA recommendations by 27 percent.

Orbital Reef is only one of the commercial space stations NASA is supporting – some of them through funded agreements, others through unfunded agreements. With the International Space Station retiring over the next decade, human presence in space will look very different in a few years.

Source: iflscience

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Bezos’s Plan For The First Private Space Station Just Passed Four Key Milestones

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