Sierra Nevada Selects ULA to Launch First 2 Dream Chasers

Dream Chaser cargo ship docking with International Space Station. (Credit: SNC)

CENTENNIAL, Colo., July 19, 2017 (SNC PR)) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announced that it selected United Launch Alliance’s (ULA’s) commercially developed Atlas V rocket to launch the first two missions of its Dream Chaser cargo system in support of NASA’s Cargo Resupply Services 2 (CRS2) contract.
“ULA is pleased to partner with Sierra Nevada Corporation to launch its Dream Chaser cargo system to the International Space Station in less than three years,” said Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Human and Commercial Systems. “We recognize the importance of on time and reliable transportation of crew and cargo to Station and are honored the Atlas V was selected to continue to launch cargo resupply missions for NASA.”

The two awarded Atlas V missions will carry pressurized and unpressurized cargo to the International Space Station (ISS). The first mission is set to lift off in 2020 from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, in Florida. The second contracted mission is scheduled to lift off in 2021. Dream Chaser will launch atop an Atlas V 552, with a dual engine Centaur upper stage.

“SNC recognizes the proven reliability of the Atlas V rocket and its availability and schedule performance makes it the right choice for the first two flights of the Dream Chaser,” said Mark Sirangelo, corporate vice president of SNC’s Space Systems business area.  “ULA is an important player in the market and we appreciate their history and continued contributions to space flights and are pleased to support the aerospace community in Colorado and Alabama,” added Sirangelo.

The Atlas V has received NASA’s highest and most rigorous Category 3 Certification, which allows the Atlas V family of launch vehicles to fly NASA’s most complex and critical missions.

The Dream Chaser spacecraft has been in development for more than 10 years, including six years as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and leverages more than 40 years of NASA spaceflight and space shuttle heritage. In 2016, Dream Chaser was selected by NASA under the CRS2 contract to transport pressurized and unpressurized cargo to and from the ISS with return and disposal services.

  • BeanCounterFromDownUnder

    Was there a contract to bid on? ‘Select’ sort of implies a contract. If no contract then would the word ‘appoint’ or something similar be more appropriate?

  • OldCodger

    Biding is not part of the formation of a contractual relationship under US, UK, Australian or any other common law country. A contract can be formed between the parties without any bidding or even negotiation. However not saying it is the best way of going about it, though in this instance we just do not have any information as to what process was used in the decision making.

  • Spaceman__Spliff

    While I’m not aware this was officially put out for bid, they have also worked with Ariane 5 fairly closely, so I’m sure SNC has a solid idea of what those launch costs are. According to this tweet they could also launch on FH and H-3, but I don’t know to what extent those have been pursued.