AWS Public Sector Blog

Amazon and AWS to reimagine space station operations and logistics for Orbital Reef

How will humans explore, experiment, and sustain long-term habitation in low Earth orbit (LEO)? Orbital Reef is the next generation space station currently in development to provide commercial and research space activities in LEO, as well as space tourism capabilities. Amazon Distribution and Fulfillment Solutions (Amazon) and Amazon Web Services (AWS) are helping Orbital Reef reimagine networking, logistics, and communications that will be an integral part of the next space station.

Orbital Reef is a commercially developed, owned, and operated space station to be built in LEO. Led by partners Blue Origin and Sierra Space, Orbital Reef is backed by space industry leaders and team members including Boeing, Redwire Space, Genesis Engineering, and Arizona State University.

Orbital Reef was recently selected by NASA for a funded Space Act Agreement through NASA’s Commercial LEO Development program, with the goal of shifting NASA’s research and exploration activities in LEO to commercial space stations, to help stimulate a growing space economy before the International Space Station (ISS) is retired in 2030.

Orbital Reef’s open architecture infrastructure will host diverse tenants and businesses with its world-class accommodations. AWS will provide the services and technology tools necessary to support how humans will live and work in space, spanning Orbital Reef engineering design to on-orbit networking and operations. Amazon’s world-class logistics expertise will help streamline delivery and inventory management of space station supplies between Earth and the Reef.

“Orbital Reef is applying proven approaches to enable a robust business ecosystem in low Earth orbit,” said Brent Sherwood, senior vice president of advanced development programs for Blue Origin. “Amazon and AWS are ideal collaborators to support transportation, habitation, and communications. We’re working with the world’s best to reimagine logistics for a commercial mixed-use space business park.”

Orbital Reef is being developed to meet the needs of global space agencies and government organizations as well as commercial visitors needing more streamlined access to space. The habitat will be able to accommodate a wide variety of activities, including research and manufacturing, media and entertainment, sports and gaming, and adventure travel and tourism.

“We are proud to support the Orbital Reef mission of making space more accessible to future generations,” said Clint Crosier, director of the AWS Aerospace and Satellite business. “AWS technology will provide the speed and agility this team needs to streamline engineering design processes on Earth, and can enable the fully connected, secure, highly flexible vision for the Orbital Reef mission in space. We are excited to collaborate with Blue Origin and the industry team to help bring this exciting project to life.”

“We are excited to collaborate with the Orbital Reef team to reimagine logistics for space,” said Brett McMillen, director of Strategic Partners for Amazon Distribution and Fulfillment Solutions. “Amazon looks forward to sharing our expertise in logistics and end-to-end supply chain infrastructure to help develop reliable infrastructure that ensures humans have the resources they need to explore, experiment, and sustain long-term habitation in low earth orbit.”

The broader industry team will contribute their expertise to develop, integrate, and operate Orbital Reef’s transportation and destination systems and services:

  • Blue Origin leads development of the station’s infrastructure, large-diameter metal modules, last-mile space tug, and reusable heavy-lift New Glenn launch system.
  • Sierra Space leads development of the Large Integrated Flexible Environment (LIFE) and small-diameter metal node modules, and Dream Chaser spaceplane for crew and cargo transportation with runway landing anywhere in the world.
  • Amazon will share their expertise in logistics and end-to-end supply chain management to help Orbital Reef develop, launch, and scale reliable infrastructure to support Orbital Reef operations and inhabitants.
  • AWS will provide a variety of integrated cloud services and tools to support both near-term and long-term technical requirements including space station development and design, flight operations, data management, enterprise architecture solutions, and integrated networking, logistics, and communications capabilities.
  • Boeing leads development of the station’s operations and maintenance and science module, and Starliner crew capsule.
  • Redwire Space leads microgravity research payload development and operations, large deployable structures, and the Orbital Reef digital twin.
  • Genesis Engineering Solutions develops the Single Person Spacecraft for routine operations and tourist excursions.
  • Arizona State University leads the University Advisory Group, a global consortium of universities for research advisory services and public outreach.

Visit Orbital Reef for more information.

Read more about how the AWS Aerospace and Satellite team is enabling successful space missions.

Read more stories about AWS for space technology:

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