Sierra Nevada Corporation Awarded by NASA for Work on Advanced Plant Habitat

SPARKS, Nev. (August 24, 2017) – Sierra Nevada Corporation was recognized by NASA with two awards for its exceptional work on the Advanced Plant Habitat (APH) plant growth system, which is currently bringing more fresh food and advanced plant physiology research to space on the International Space Station (ISS).

The prestigious awards include the Exceptional Public Achievement medal honoring two individuals and a group NASA certificate for SNC’s significant team contributions to NASA’s mission:

  • The Exceptional Public Achievement medal was awarded to two key SNC engineers, Gil Tellez and Matt DeMars. The award commends high-quality, innovative approaches that significantly or substantially improve operations, resulting in the advancement of the agency’s goals.
  • The NASA group certificate was given to a select number of SNC engineers, support staff and management for quality results, customer satisfaction, effective management and development of innovative work. Awardees included Adam Anderson, Mike Bourget, Matt DeMars, Jim Harris, Robert Morrow, Robert Richter, Gil Tellez, Sarah Waddill and Russ Wallace.

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Sierra Nevada Teams with ORBITEC, Aerojet Rocketdyne on NextSTEP-2 Habitat Work

Concept image of Sierra Nevada Corporation's habitation prototype, based on its Dream Chaser cargo module. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)
Concept image of Sierra Nevada Corporation’s habitation prototype, based on its Dream Chaser cargo module. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

SPARKS, Nev. (SNC PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has been selected to develop a deep space, long-duration, human habitat design and prototype for NASA. The partnership, under NASA’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships-2 (NextSTEP-2) Broad Agency Announcement, Appendix A, will allow SNC and its partners to use their experience to design a complete habitat system architecture and build a full-scale prototype for testing and evaluation.

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NASA Selects New Technologies for Flight Tests

Made in Space employees on a Zero G research flight.
Made in Space employees on a Zero G research flight.

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Flight Opportunities program has selected 13 space technology payloads to flight test on parabolic aircraft, high-altitude balloons or suborbital launch vehicles to demonstrate new technologies. The selections were made through the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) in Washington.

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NASA Awards ORBITEC Contract for Advanced Propulsion Systems

orbitec_snc_logoMADISON, Wis., December 10, 2015 (SNC PR) – NASA has awarded Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) wholly-owned subsidiary Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC) a competitive indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) task order contract to support the development, demonstration and verification of advanced propulsion system technologies under the Research and Technologies for Aerospace Propulsion Systems 2 (RTAPS2) for NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

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ORBITEC Expands Vortex Engine With New Propellant Demo

Thrust vortex engine test (Credit: ORBITEC/SNC)
Thrust vortex engine test (Credit: ORBITEC/SNC)

MADISON, Wis. (Nov. 10, 2015) – Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) wholly-owned subsidiary Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC) recently completed successful testing and demonstration of three different propellant combinations for its existing 30,000-pound thrust vortex rocket engine. Completing this advancement in less than a year, ORBITEC is rapidly progressing its offering of engines for orbital maneuvering, upper-stage engines that ignite at high altitude, and small-to-medium-scale air and ground launch stage engines.

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NASA Announces 12 NextSTEP Partnerships

NASA LOGOWASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Building on the success of NASA’s partnerships with commercial industry to date, NASA has selected 12 Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) to advance concept studies and technology development projects in the areas of advanced propulsion, habitation and small satellites.

Through these public-private partnerships, selected companies will partner with NASA to develop the exploration capabilities necessary to enable commercial endeavors in space and human exploration to deep-space destinations such as the proving ground of space around the moon, known as cis-lunar space, and Mars.

“Commercial partners were selected for their technical ability to mature key technologies and their commitment to the potential applications both for government and private sector uses,” said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations at NASA Headquarters. “This work ultimately will inform the strategy to move human presence further into the solar system.”

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The Year in Commercial Space 2014 (Part II)

Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)
Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

Second of 2 Stories

It was a busy year for a number of commercial space companies. While most of them made considerable progress, the news wasn’t all good.

A Dream Deferred

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) had a pretty rough year, losing out on two major contracts and laying off more than 100 employees.

On a Friday in May, just as everyone was preparing for the long Memorial Day weekend, Virgin Galactic announced it was dumping the hybrid rubber motor SNC developed for SpaceShipTwo in favor of a hybrid nylon one produced by Scaled Composites.

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Sierra Nevada Completes Commercial Crew Milestone

SNC and ORBITEC complete RCS testing in vacuum chamber to simulate orbit environment. (Credit: SNC)
SNC and ORBITEC complete RCS testing in vacuum chamber to simulate orbit environment. (Credit: SNC)

SPARKS, Nev., Dec. 2, 2014 (SNC PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announces the successful completion of a major milestone relating to the Reaction Control System (RCS) propulsion risk reduction for the Dream Chaser®  Space System, known as Milestone 15a. The achievement further matures the design toward Critical Design Review (CDR) and positions SNC one step closer to concluding all milestones laid out in NASA’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) agreement. To date, SNC has received 96 percent of the total award value of the CCiCap agreement, having successfully completed 12 of 13 milestones.

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ISS Astronauts Looking Forward to Fresh Vegetables

NASA astronaut Steve Swanson, Expedition 40 commander, harvests a crop of red romaine lettuce plants in the International Space Station’s Harmony node that were grown from seed inside the Veggie facility, a low-cost plant growth chamber that uses a flat-panel light bank for plant growth and crew observation. (Credit: NASA/Alex Gerst)
NASA astronaut Steve Swanson, Expedition 40 commander, harvests a crop of red romaine lettuce plants in the International Space Station’s Harmony node that were grown from seed inside the Veggie facility, a low-cost plant growth chamber that uses a flat-panel light bank for plant growth and crew observation. (Credit: NASA/Alex Gerst)

by Linda Herridge
NASA Kennedy Space Center

Red romaine lettuce and other fresh vegetables could be on the menu for astronauts in the future. NASA astronaut and Expedition 40 Commander Steve Swanson harvested the first fresh vegetable crop, Veg-01, on June 10 from the Veggie plant growth system on the International Space Station (ISS).

“I was all smiles watching Swanson harvest his space lettuce, and I noted a great deal of excitement among the other crew members,” said Trent Smith, a project manager in the ISS Ground Processing and Research Project Office at Kennedy Space Center.

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Sierra Nevada Completes Acquisition of ORBITEC

Dream Chaser (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)
Dream Chaser (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

SPARKS, Nev. (SNC PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announces it completed the acquisition of Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC), headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin. The company will continue its operations in Madison, while supporting SNC’s Space Systems in Louisville, Colorado.

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Sierra Nevada Completes Dream Chaser Propulsion, Reaction Control Milestone

Dream Chaser Main Propulsion System Test. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)
Dream Chaser Main Propulsion System Test. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

Sparks, Nev., July 8, 2014 (SNC PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announces it has completed a major Main Propulsion System (MPS) and Reaction Control System (RCS) risk reduction milestone for the Dream Chaser® Space System, maturing the design of each system close to Critical Design Review (CDR). The milestone positions SNC one step closer to restoring U.S. crew transportation to low-Earth orbit (LEO).

SNC completed the work for milestone 9a under its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) agreement with NASA. In total, SNC has received over 80 percent of the total award value of the CCiCap agreement having successfully completed 10 of 13 milestones.

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Sierra Nevada Acquires ORBITEC

Dream Chaser (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)
Dream Chaser (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

SPARKS, Nev., June 19, 2014 (SNR PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), headquartered in Sparks, Nevada, announces that it has signed a definitive purchase agreement to acquire the Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC) as a wholly-owned subsidiary of SNC. ORBITEC is a leading subsystems integrator and high technology development company based in Madison, Wisconsin. ORBITEC’s strong liquid rocket propulsion, life science and support, and fire suppression technology portfolio will enhance both SNC Space Systems’ Propulsion and Spacecraft Systems’ product lines.

SNC has been working with ORBITEC for over three years. ORBITEC is the lead for the Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS) and Thermal Control Systems (TCS) for SNC, providing reliable living conditions including temperature and humidity control to support the astronauts during their journeys on SNC’s Dream Chaser® spacecraft. Recently, SNC selected ORBITEC to provide the RCS engines for Dream Chaser using green, nontoxic propellants. The flexibility of fuel and oxidizer options along with the ability to quickly scale engine size makes ORBITEC’s Vortex technology the growing industry preferred choice for Reaction Control Systems (RCS), Upper Stage engines and potentially boost class engines.

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Space Veggies to Improve Cuisine on International Space Station

Outredgeous red romaine lettuce plants grow inside in a prototype Veggie flight pillow. The bellows of the hardware have been lowered to better observe the plants. A small temperature and relative humidity data logger is placed between the pillows small white box, central. (Credit: NASA/Gioia Massa)
Outredgeous red romaine lettuce plants grow inside in a prototype Veggie flight pillow. The bellows of the hardware have been lowered to better observe the plants. A small temperature and relative humidity data logger is placed between the pillows small white box, central. (Credit: NASA/Gioia Massa)

By Linda Herridge
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

A plant growth chamber bound for the International Space Station inside the Dragon capsule on the SpaceX-3 resupply mission may help expand in-orbit food production capabilities in more ways than one, and offer astronauts something they don’t take for granted, fresh food.

NASA’s Veg-01 experiment will be used to study the in-orbit function and performance of a new expandable plant growth facility called Veggie and its plant “pillows.” The investigation will focus on the growth and development of “Outredgeous” lettuce seedlings in the spaceflight environment.

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ORBITEC Selected for 4 NASA SBIR Awards

ORBITEC Vision rocket engine. (Credit: ORBITEC)
ORBITEC Vision rocket engine. (Credit: ORBITEC)

NASA has selected Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC) of Madison, Wisc., for four Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I awards.

Two of the awards, worth up to $125,000 apiece, focus on technologies designed to improve in-space propulsion. The other two awards, worth up to $200,000 apiece, will help develop technologies for use aboard the International Space Station.

The four proposals selected include:

  • Integrated Composite Nozzle Extension — In-Space Propulsion Systems
  • Acoustic Resonance Reaction Control Thruster (ARCTIC) — In-Space Propulsion Systems
  • Rapid Multiplex Microbial Detector — International Space Station Utilization
  • Zero G Mass Measurement Device (ZGMMD) — International Space Station Utilization.

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ORBITEC’s Rocket Engine Soars Above the Mojave Desert

MADISON, Wisconsin (ORBITEC PR) — Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC) has successfully flight-tested its new rocket engine and technologies in Mojave, CA. ORBITEC integrated its Vortex Liquid Rocket Engine into a launch vehicle airframe designed and built by Garvey Spacecraft Corporation (GSC) of Long Beach, California and California State University at Long Beach.

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