Blue Origin and Sierra Space Planning Commercial Space Station

A rendition of the planned Orbital Reef Space Station. At deployment, Orbital Reef is intended to be one-third this size and expanded later.

Article Link: Blue Origin and Sierra Space announce plans for commercial space station – SpaceNews

As we approach the eventual retirement of the International Space Station, Blue Origin and Sierra Space, as well as several other organizations, have announced their plans to build a commercial space station. Named Orbital Reef, this modular space station is planned to be expandable by adding more components over time and is hoped to be ready for operation in the latter half of this decade. As part of this partnership, the entities involved will contribute different components to the project, with Blue Origin working on large-diameter core modules and utility systems, while Sierra Space will add an inflatable module design and a cargo spaceplane known as Dream Chaser. Additionally, Boeing will provide its CST-100 Starliner crew vehicle, Redwire Space will handle research into microgravity, and Genesis Engineering Solutions will provide its proposed Single Person Space Pod. Moreover, Arizona State University will lead a consortium that focuses on outreach and research. As they bid for NASA’s low-Earth orbit contract regarding commercial space station research, a representative for Blue Origin has suggested that the project is already underway, giving us an early look at the race to replace the ISS.

With this project in particular, my biggest cybersecurity concern comes from their distributed approach to development, with different companies handling different parts. A lack of uniformity could end up leading to an abundance of attack vectors, as component A could have a vulnerability that component B doesn’t, and vice-versa. Additionally, dividing up the workload could mean that there is far more IP data to protect. These issues could provide a golden opportunity for those looking to disrupt the mission. For example, with Bezos-owned Blue Origin acting as the face of this mission, hacktivists could attempt to interfere with the mission as a way of harming Bezos’s and the company’s credibility. To protect this mission, I believe that it is imperative that the different companies align their processes closely and work together cohesively.