NASA Taps 11 American Companies to Advance Human Lunar Landers

Artist’s conception of lunar lander (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 11 companies to conduct studies and produce prototypes of human landers for its Artemis lunar exploration program. This effort will help put American astronauts — the first woman and next man — on the Moon’s south pole by 2024 and establish sustainable missions by 2028.

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NASA Selects Two New Space Tech Research Institutes for Smart Habitats

Habitation concept interior. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — As exploration missions venture beyond low-Earth orbit and to the Moon — and eventually Mars — NASA must consider automated technologies to keep habitats operational even when they are not occupied by astronauts. To help achieve this, NASA has selected two new Space Technology Research Institutes (STRIs) to advance space habitat designs using resilient and autonomous systems.

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Bridenstine Appoints Sirangelo as Special Assistant to Oversee Lunar Plans

Mark Sirangelo (Credit: SNC)

Appointment of Mark Sirangelo
Message from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Mark Sirangelo as Special Assistant to the Administrator. In this role, Mark will have broad responsibility to work across the Mission Directorates to further develop the Exploration Campaign. This includes a strategy to meet the Administration’s policy to return astronauts to the lunar surface by 2024. he will also lead the planning for the proposed agency restructuring to creat the Moon to Mars Mission Directorate that will manage the programs to develop the Gateway, human rated lander and surface systems to return to the Moon and establish a permanent presence. The new proposed Directorate will also manage the Exploration Research and Technology programs to enable capabilities for exploration of the Moon, Mars and beyond.

Mark N. Sirangelo has a long history in space and aerospace having lead program teams that participated in over 300 space missions, including over 20 planetary missions and 70 NASA missions. His recent work experience has been as Scholar in Residence for Engineering, Applied Science and Aerospace at the University of Colorado. Formerly, he was the head of Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems and CEO of SpaceDev, its predecessor company. He also served on the Defense Innovation Board for the Secretary of Defense and as the Chief Innovation Officer of the State of Colorado.

His personal and organizational recognitions include being inducted int the Space Foundation’s Technology Hall of Fame, being an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, named one of the World’s Top 10 Innovative Space Companies by Fast Company, and recognized as Manufacturer Builder of the the Year by ColoradoBiz, The Best Place to Work by the Business Journals, and part of Inc. Magazine’s top 200 companies.

Mr. Sirangelo was a founding member of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation and the founder and Chairman of eSpace, the Center for Space Entrepreneurship. He has been working to make the world a safer place for children as a foundational Board member of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

He holds Doctorate, MBA and Bachelor of Science degrees, is a long-term licensed pilot, and has served his country proudly as a U.S. Army officer.

Please join me in welcoming Mark to the NASA leadership team.

NASA Begins Testing Habitation Prototypes

Habitation concept interior. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Over the next several months, NASA will conduct a series of ground tests inside five uniquely designed, full-size, deep space habitat prototypes. The mockups, constructed by five American companies, offer different perspectives on how astronauts will live and work aboard the Gateway – the first spaceship designed to stay in orbit around the Moon, providing the critical infrastructure needed for exploration, science and technology demonstrations on the lunar surface.

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Dream Chaser Spacecraft Passes Another NASA Milestone

Dream Chaser lands (Credit: NASA)

SPARKS, Nev., March 21, 2019 (SNC PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Dream Chaser spacecraft passed NASA’s Integrated Review Milestone 5 (IR5), a key status check on SNC’s performance of a variety of ground and flight operations.

IR5 demonstrates that the Dream Chaser team is on track to operate the space vehicle in advance of the first mission to the International Space Station under the Commercial Resupply Services Contract 2 (CRS-2).

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Dream Chaser® Spacecraft Passes Key NASA Milestone, Production of Orbital Spacecraft to Begin

Dream Chaser lands (Credit: NASA)

SPARKS, Nev. (December 18, 2018) – Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Dream Chaser spacecraft passed a key milestone for NASA’S Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contract, validating design performance and clearing the way for full spacecraft production.  The milestone marks completion of Integration Review 4 (IR4) demonstrating NASA’s confidence in the safety and maturity of Dream Chaser’s design.

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Sierra Nevada’s New VORTEX Upper Stage Engine Closer to Reality

VORTEX engine test (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

SPARKS, Nev., October 11, 2018 (SNC PR) – With its patented VORTEX™ engine technology, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is one step closer to testing a brand new version of its low-cost, high-performance upper stage rocket engine. The VR35K-A, developed in conjunction with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), is a commercialized version of the VORTEX engine system. The team will provide a fully integrated engine, leveraging technologies initially developed under Small Business Innovation Research programs.

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NASA Selects Two Companies to Help Take Out the Deep Space Trash

Sierra Nevada Corporation has evolved heat melt compaction technology from initial development and demonstration efforts to the design of the Trash Compaction and Processing System planned for testing aboard the International Space Station.
(Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and UTC Aerospace Systems (UTAS) to develop systems that can reduce trash volume, and process the resulting atmosphere contaminants during deep space missions. The U.S. companies responded to NASA’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) Appendix F: Logistics Reduction (LR) in Space by Trash Compaction and Processing System (TCPS) Broad Agency Announcement, issued in July.

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Mattel, Inc. Releases Dream Chaser® Spacecraft Matchbox Toy

Mattel Dream Chaser Matchbox® toy. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

SPARKS, Nev. (Sierra Nevada PR) – America’s next generation spaceplane will soon be available in stores. Mattel, Inc. toymaker is releasing a Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Dream Chaser spacecraft Matchbox® toy, which will be sold in stores starting in September.

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Sierra Nevada Completes Key Step for NASA’s NextSTEP-2 Long-Duration Space Travel Study

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

SPARKS, Nev., August 9, 2018 (Sierra Nevada PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) completed a NASA study for the Power and Propulsion Element (PPE), which is the first module planned to be launched for NASA’s Gateway in lunar orbit. The study was performed under one of SNC’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships-2 (NextSTEP-2) contracts. SNC plans to submit a bid to win the NASA contract when the agency issues its formal solicitation for the element later this year.

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Sirangelo Joins CU Boulder Engineering as Entrepreneur-in-Residence

Mark Sirangelo (Credit: Alyson McClaran)

BOULDER, Colo. (CU Boulder PR) — Mark Sirangelo, who just concluded his career as the head of aerospace giant Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems, is joining the University of Colorado Boulder as an entrepreneur-in-residence beginning this month. Bobby Braun, dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science, announced today that Sirangelo will join CU Boulder after nearly 10 years at SNC.

“Mark is an aerospace visionary who recognizes that CU Boulder is a premier research and innovation engine for the United States and the hub of Colorado’s aerospace ecosystem,” Braun said. “A leader in entrepreneurial space, a contributor to national security, a pilot and veteran, Mark’s expertise and creativity are a perfect mix for this groundbreaking institution.”

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Sirangelo Resigns from Sierra Nevada Corporation

Mark Sirangelo (Credit: SNC)

Mark Sirangelo has resigned from Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) for what CEO Fatih Ozmen, owner says are personal reasons, Space News reports. He had run SNC’s Space Systems Division for nearly a decade after his former company, SpaceDev, was acquired.

“We are proud and grateful for all we have achieved in partnership with Mark over the last ten years,” Ozmen said. “Mark has an inspiring enthusiasm for space and a strong entrepreneurial spirit, both of which he has cultivated among our exceptionally talented Space Systems team.”

In an internal memo, Sirangelo said his departure was a “friendly transition” from the company and “is being made from a positive personal place.” The memo, obtained by SpaceNews, was first published by SpaceRef.

“I understand this change may be perceived as challenging but I wanted you to know that the state of our business is very good with strong leadership behind it,” Sirangelo said in the memo to employees. “We were a founding entity of the new commercial space industry and are now seen as one of its most successful leaders.”

Sirangelo said that Fatih Ozmen and Eren Ozmen, the president and co-owner of SNC, were “completely and positively committed” to its space systems business, and that he had been working with them on a transition plan for his departure for weeks. Sirangelo said he would work with company leadership on transition activities through July and serve in a “strategic advisory capacity for some time” after leaving the company.

Paragon Developing Advanced Radiator for Inflatable Habitats

Paragon Space Development Corporation will develop a flexible radiator for inflatable habitats and an improved condenser for use on human space missions with the help of NASA funding.

The space agency has selected the Tuscon, Ariz.-based company for two contracts under its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1 program. The agreements are worth up to $125,000 apiece over 13 months.

The target market for Paragon’s Flexible Radiator (FlexRAD) is “long duration human spaceflight exploration missions and other spacecraft” that use a single loop  active thermal control system (ATCS).

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