Dubai’s potential to use Bezos’s Orbital Reef space station as “off-world address”

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The planned Orbital Reef, a private, commercial space station being explored by the space tourism company Blue Origin, could become Dubai’s gateway to an address “off-world,” an advisor for the project in the Middle East said.

Owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin, and partners Sierra Space, Boeing, and Redwire, announced on Monday plans for Orbital Reef, a commercially developed, owned, and operated space station to be built in low-Earth orbit.

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It is being designed to open multiple new markets in space, with the potential to provide anyone with the opportunity to establish their own address in orbit, the CEO of technology and investment company AzurX, Anna Hazlett told Al Arabiya English.

“Low-Earth orbit is valuable real estate as it is located above the atmosphere and halfway out of Earth’s deep gravity well, with incomparable views of our home planet, novel sensations, ready access to unique research conditions, and a starting point for operations anywhere in space,” Hazlett said.

“Orbital Reef could provide the UAE with an address off-world, where research, entrepreneurship, tourism, and entertainment can flourish,” she added, describing the concept as a new kind of mixed used business park.

“The UAE is a leader in technology industry parks and free zones. Orbital Reef tenants are welcome to use this infrastructure to support their own objectives, offering unlimited business development and entrepreneurial opportunities,” Hazlett said.

The station will offer government, research, industrial, international, and commercial customers the services needed for space transportation and logistics, space habitation, equipment accommodation, and operations including onboard crew.

Orbital Reef will start operating in the second half of this decade, and will be operated as a “mixed use business park” in space.

“Earth orbit holds great promise for future-oriented nations and companies around the world,” Brent Sherwood, Senior Vice President, Advanced Development Programs for Blue Origin said in a press release regarding the station.

"Orbital Reef's mission aligns with the UAE's own vision: building infrastructure, collaborative opportunities, and commercial access to bring the world together."

Bezos has committed to spending $1 billion annually on Blue Origin.

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