ASU partners with aerospace company on plan to build business park in space

Oct 27, 2021, 4:05 AM

PHOENIX — Arizona State University announced Monday a partnership with various leaders in the aerospace industry to help bring a mixed-use business park to space by the end of the decade.

The project – named Orbital Reef – is being developed by Blue Origin, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and Sierra Space.

Entities will be able to lease space at the facility, which can cater to a variety of industries such as research, manufacturing, travel, education and exploration.

“Throughout the 20th century, space exploration has been the realm of the hero, the unreachable astronaut, the one special person,” Lindy Elkins-Tanton, vice president of ASU’s Interplanetary Initiative and principal investigator of the NASA Psyche mission, said in a press release.

“But with Orbital Reef, we will make it accessible for so many more people who can participate in many different ways. This is our moment to bring everyone into space exploration.”

ASU leads the facility’s advisory council, which is made up of more than a dozen universities that will establish guidelines and standards of conduct on Orbital Reef, the university said.

The advisory council will also provide consulting for those new to space research, channel academic research onto the facility and inform the academic user experience at the station in addition to conducting STEM outreach and education programs, according to the release.

Baseline configuration of the facility has separate science and habitation zones, according to an overview, and 10 people are supported in the modules that also feature large windows to take in the views.

Other industry leaders to take part in the project are Boeing, Redwire Space and Genesis Engineering, according to the release.

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ASU partners with aerospace company on plan to build business park in space