As the International Space Station, one of humanity's greatest cooperative efforts between nations that don't always agree (geopolitically speaking) falls into disrepair, having narrowly avoided a serious emergency just earlier this month, Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin has just announced plans to build a free-flying space station called Orbital Reef.
The space station will begin operating some time during the second half of the decade according to the company, which provided a statement to the Verge.
The station will ultimately serve as a place for researchers to work, and not just those from Blue Origin: the Bezos-founded company (which recently sent the world's second richest man to the edge of space along with his brother and a handful of other passengers) will allow "industrial and commercial customers, and international partners" to board and work there as well.
Blue Origin is working on the project, called Orbital Reef, in partnership with spaceflight company Sierra Space, a subsidiary of the Sierra Nevada Corporation (not the beer people) whose best-known project is the Dream Chaser, an experimental winged space plane designed to start carrying cargo into space some time next year.
Orbital Reef is also being backed by Boeing, Arizona State University as well as Redwire Space and Genesis Engineering Solutions.
The station is expected to be able to house up to 10 people, with separate areas for living and conducting science. According to Blue Origin, the space station will effectively be a "mixed use service park" in space - perhaps the first of many, if humanity takes the whole "remote work" concept to its most extreme logical endpoint.
With a "flexible" set up, the space station will "provide the essential infrastructure needed to scale economic activity and open new markets in space."
NASA said in September that it received about a dozen proposals for its initiative to hand off research in low orbit to the private sector.
Not that this is anything new: the agency already has a contract with Axiom, another private company, to develop a space station that can dock with the ISS, and Blue Origin is competing with Elon Musk's SpaceX and other firms to establish themselves as pioneers in the nascent space industry.
At least once humanity decides it's done with the earth, it can simply move into orbiting space homes brought to you by Jeff Bezos.