Jeff Bezos’ worlds collide: Amazon and AWS join Blue Origin on Orbital Reef space station team

Amazon and its cloud computing division, Amazon Web Services, say they’re 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 ahead with the design of an orbital outpost that could fill the gap when the International Space Station is retired in the 2030-2031 time frame. Two other teams — led by Nanoracks and Northrop Grumman — also won NASA funding to flesh out their space station concepts.

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

Bezos founded Kent, Wash.-based Blue Origin in 2000, six years after he founded 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 as well as the Orbital Reef space station and other advanced space projects.

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