NASA named the three companies it has chosen to create designs for the successor to the International Space Station. The three companies will be given funding from the space agency “to develop designs of space stations and other commercial destinations in space.”
NASA has given Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin $130 million, Nanoracks LLC $160 million, and Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation $125.6 million. NASA says that these awards constitute the first phase in its plan to establish the ISS’s replacement. The companies will have the next four years to “formulate and design commercial low-Earth orbit destination capabilities suitable for potential government and private sector needs.”
Blue Origin has openly expressed its intentions to build a space station prior to being selected by NASA. The company and its partner Sierra Space announced its place to create a space station named Orbital Reef back in October. Orbital Reef is conceived as being a multipurpose space station facilitation commercial activity alongside government and research use. Blue Origin said it plans to provide transportation between the space station and Earth. Orbital Reef is anticipated to open before 2030.