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Blue Origin negotiating with India to use its rockets and capsule for Orbital Reef space station

According to the head of India’s space agency ISRO, he has been in discussions with Blue Origin about using different versions of that nation’s largest rocket (dubbed LVM-3 or GSLV-Mk3 depending on configuration) and its manned capsule (still under development) for eventually ferrying crew and cargo to Blue Origin’s proposed Orbital Reef space station.

Somanath said: “We are exploring … In fact, we’ve already discussed it with Blue Origin and they are very keen to consider this option of LVM-3 becoming a crew capsule mission to service the Orbital Reef. It is a possibility and we are engaging through IN-SPACe (Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre).”

On the challenge of integrating a docking system that is compatible, he said standard docking systems are in the public domain. “…Whoever can design a docking system that matches with the US design and standard, can be used. However, we will still need to have agreements with agencies to try it out given that there are multiple interfaces — electrical, mechanical and so on. It is not just one document, we will need to work with them to develop it. We will do that.

It appears Somanath has also had discussions with NASA about also providing the same service to ISS.

An Orbital Reef deal however suggests something very disturbing about Blue Origin. The plan had been to use Blue Origin’s New Glenn orbital rocket (also still under development but years behind schedule) to launch crew and cargo capsules to the station. That in fact is supposed to be Blue Origin’s main technical contribution to the station. Why would the company then look to India for such capability, unless it recognizes that there are more problems with New Glenn that it has not revealed?

It is also possible that Jeff Bezos is simply expressing his leftwing globalist agenda with these negotiations. Or it could mean some combination of both. This situation bears watching.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Jay

    That Gaganyaan manned spacecraft is based off of the Soyuz and the spacesuits are out of Russia. Will they change their design for docking from Russian APAS to U.S. LIDS)?

  • Ray Van Dune

    Ahem… how about getting Falcon Heavy human-rated. I have a bad feeling about the plans of BO and ULA.”, and the FAA.

  • pzatchok

    All of these deals are only being proposed because every single person involved has one idea.
    Space X is a great back up if their deal falls apart.

    Bezos never actually planned on making anything profitable. He just wanted to keep government cash coming in while built his POGO machine to get a few flights in for himself. A billionaires project. Now he is looking for a nice quiet way out.

  • Klystron

    Seems like Bezos has wandered off into mega yachts, steroids, plastic women, and divorce settlements. Along way from a nerdy engineer who dreamed of space and opened an internet book store.

  • Star Bird

    Space Barnicles anyone ? Look like Big Mushrooms grow into a flower with aa deadly vapor grow on anything even a Car Engine but when it Rains on them the little suckers scream wither and die. From a episode of The Outer Limits back in the 1960’s

  • D. Messier

    Orbital Reef needs users to be viable. India is developing a crew vehicle that needs places to go. A logical partnersip. Governments have the money to support human spaceflight. Not surprising there were two Saudi astronauts on Ax-2. Turkish astronaut will fly on Ax-3.

    If Gagayaan is a threat to any company it’s Boeing. Starliner is supposed to service Orbital Reef.

    Anyway, the station will probably be much like ISS. Used by multiple customers and supplied by various vehicles.

    US and India announced a number of joint space projects when Modi visited. Included a joint crewed flight.

  • Edward

    D. Messier wrote: “A logical partnersip.

    Logical indeed. Especially since India wants a strong space program, and access to a space station is a huge step in that direction.

    India need not build their own space station until later, after they have more experience with manned spaceflight. Or, they could buy a space station from one of the companies that is now building them. All that company would have to do is build one additional space station. More, if other countries want to own their own national space stations, or if companies want their own.

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