Private space station Blue Origin is being filmed in a new film, but so far it is firmly fixed • TechCrunch

Orbital Reef, a private space station under construction led by Blue Origin and Sierra Space, is coming to the big screen. The companies announced today that the space station will be featured in the upcoming HELIOS movie as part of a deal with production company Centerboro Productions.

The film, set in the year 2030, follows a spacecraft called HELIOS and its crew. Orbital Reef will appear throughout the film as “a last-generation space station used by the HELIOS crew as an important resource,” the companies said in a statement.

Filming is expected to take place in 2023, and the companies behind Orbital Reef won’t launch the first modules for the station until 2027 or so, so this is definitely a ground-based project. At least for now: Hollywood is an interesting use case for private space stations, especially before they launch – and presumably before they start generating revenue in orbit. This is especially significant as no company has yet announced how much it is expected to cost to design, build, launch and assemble their private space station. But rest assured, it will probably be in the order of at least hundreds of millions of dollars.

Blue Origin, Sierra Space and third partner Boeing announced plans for the space station last October. An “out-of-this-world mixed-use business park,” as Blue Origin’s Senior Vice President of Advanced Development Program Brent Sherwood described the station, includes technology from Redwire Space, Genesis Engineering, and Arizona State University. Last month, the two companies announced that the station had passed a key design review at NASA, paving the way for further development.

This is far from the only private space station under development. As we move closer to the planned closure of the International Space Station by the end of the decade, both the private sector and NASA are looking to fill this gap through commercial markets. Axiom Space has its own station design in the works, and a standalone station is also being planned by a team that includes Voyager Space, Nanoracks and Lockheed Martin.

NASA has awarded more than $400 million worth of contracts to three teams led by Nanoracks, Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman (who works with contractor Dynetics) to further develop their private space stations. The awards were given as part of the agency’s Commercial Directions to Low Earth Orbit program.

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