Amazon and AWS join Blue Origin’s space station team

An artist’s concept shows the Orbital Reef space station. (Orbital Reef via Amazon)

Amazon and its cloud computing division, Amazon Web Services, say they are joining forces with another company founded by Jeff Bezos to support the development of a commercial space station known as Orbital Reef.

Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture is one of the leaders of the Orbital Reef project, along with Colorado-based Sierra Space. Boeing, Redwire Space, Genesis Engineering and Arizona State University are also part of the consortium.

Last December, Orbital Reef won a $130 million award from NASA to move forward with the design of an orbital outpost that could fill the gap when the International Space Station retires in 2030-2031. Two other teams — led by Nanoracks and Northrop Grumman — also won NASA funding to flesh out their space station concepts.

In a blog post, AWS said it would provide services and technology tools to support Orbital Reef development from the engineering design phase to on-orbit networks and operations. Amazon would bring in its logistics expertise to streamline the delivery and inventory management of space station supplies.

Bezos founded Kent, Washington-based Blue Origin in 2000, six years after founding Amazon. While publicly traded Amazon has become a powerhouse in markets ranging from retail to cloud computing and entertainment, privately held Blue Origin has focused on developing launch vehicles, the Orbital Reef space station and other advanced space projects.

“Amazon and AWS are ideal partners to support transportation, habitation and communications,” said Brent Sherwood, senior vice president of advanced development programs for Blue Origin. “We’re partnering with the world’s best to reshape logistics for a mixed-use commercial business park.”

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