The partnership between Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Sierra Space in developing the Orbital Reef space station is facing uncertainty, according to anonymous sources. The project, which was announced in 2021, has seen a lack of updates over the past year, with other endeavors, such as Blue Origin’s Blue Moon lunar lander and Sierra Space’s Dream Chaser spaceplane, taking higher priority. It is now likely that the companies will part ways, abandoning their joint efforts on Orbital Reef. Blue Origin had previously secured a $130 million contract from NASA for design work on the space station.
Orbital Reef was introduced as a mixed-use business park in space, with plans to launch its first major components in 2027. However, it seems that the project has not been a top priority for either company. Blue Origin’s focus has shifted after securing a $3.4 billion NASA contract for a crew lunar lander, while Sierra Space is concentrated on getting the initial cargo version of its Dream Chaser spaceplane operational. Signs of Orbital Reef’s unraveling include the lack of updates on the project’s development on the joint website and the absence of job openings related to it on the companies’ career websites.
From NASA’s perspective, changes and alterations in the structure and involvement of companies in such projects are not uncommon. Sierra Space, on the other hand, continues to test and develop its habitat concept, known as LIFE. The company has been regularly sharing updates on the progress and achievements of its testing and has plans for a demonstration mission of its LIFE habitat in 2026. The future of Orbital Reef remains uncertain, as discussions between Blue Origin and Sierra Space continue.