Tag: Sierra Nevada CorporationPage 2 of 24

Report: Boeing Ranked Ahead of SpaceX, Sierra Nevada on Commercial Crew

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Andy Pasztor of The Wall Street Journal has obtained a copy of NASA’s Commercial Crew source selection statement, and he says the space agency ranked Boeing’s proposal for its CST-100 spacecraft higher in every major category than SpaceX’s Dragon vehicle.

Meanwhile, Sierra Nevada Corporation’s unsuccessful bid was marked technical and schedule uncertainties related to the complex hardware and software required for the company’s Dream Chaser space shuttle, according to the story.

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More Details on Dream Chaser – Stratolaunch Launch Concept

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The new design of Stratolaunch's carrier aircraft. (Credit: Stratolaunch Systems)

The new design of Stratolaunch’s carrier aircraft. (Credit: Stratolaunch Systems)

Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Mark Sirangelo Craig Gravelle joined Chuck Beames of Vulcan Aerospace this morning at the International Aeronautical Conference in Toronto to discuss a plan to launch s downsized Dream Chaser via Stratolaunch Systems. (Vulcan Aerospace is owned by Paul Allen, who is financing Stratolaunch).

Jeff Foust (‏@jeff_foust) and Stephen Clark (@StephenClark1) attended the talk. Here is a summary of their Tweets.

  • Dream Chaser variant is about the size of the Apollo spacecraft
  • Vehicle could carry 2-3 astronauts into LEO for visits to the International Space Station and other missions
  • Dream Chaser can be automated to carry cargo
  • No decision has been made to proceed with the plan, still weighing how to move forward
  • SNC not prepared to discuss propulsion systems for Dream Chaser
  • Considered using Stratolaunch to send Drream Chaser on suborbital flights, including point-to-point missions
  • Stratolaunch carrier aircraft now half built at Mojave Air and Spaceport
  • Targeting 2018 for first launch of basic Stratolaunch aircraft and launch vehicle.

SNC Designs Dream Chaser Variant for Stratolaunch

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Dream Chaser (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

Dream Chaser (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

SPARKS, Nev., Sept. 30, 2014 – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) today announced a design for an integrated system for human spaceflight that can be launched to low Earth orbit (LEO) using Stratolaunch System’s air launch architecture and a scale version of SNC’s Dream Chaser® spacecraft.

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SNC to Unveil Dream Chaser Global Project Program

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Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

TORONTO (SNC PR) — Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is pleased to announce it will be presenting an overview of its Global Project spaceflight program Tuesday, Sept. 30 at 11:45 a.m. EST at the 65th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Toronto. The Global Project offers clients a unique turn-key spaceflight capability based on SNC’s Dream Chaser crewed space vehicle.

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Sierra Nevada Protests Commercial Crew Awards

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Dream Chaser (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

Dream Chaser (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

Sierra Nevada has formally protested NASA’s decision to award commercial crew contracts to Boeing and SpaceX:

Details of the objection lodged with the Government Accountability Office will be released shortly, Krystal Scordo, a Sierra Nevada spokeswoman, said today by e-mail. The GAO has 100 days to make a decision in the case.

The move erects at least a temporary roadblock for Boeing and SpaceX, which were picked by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station. NASA’s funding for so-called space taxi flights marks the first time the U.S. has turned to commercial ventures for sending humans into orbit.

Read the full story.

UPDATE: Here’s the Sierra Nevada press release:

Sierra Nevada Corporation Challenges Award of NASA’s
Commercial Crew Transportation Capability Contract

SPARKS, Nev. (Sept. 26, 2014) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announced today that it has filed a legal challenge to the award of contracts to Boeing and SpaceX under the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) program.  The CCtCap program will restore U.S. transportation capability to the International Space Station.

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Sierra Nevada Weighs Formal Protest on Commercial Crew Awards

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Dream Chaser (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

Dream Chaser (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Mark Sirangelo said the company is weighing a formal protest of NASA’s rejection of the company’s commercial crew bid as it continues work on the Dream Chaser shuttle.

The company has built an international network of partners and potential customers, including the European Space Agency (ESA), German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Mark Sirangelo, who heads the company’s Space Systems unit in Louisville, Colorado, said Sept. 25 that Sierra Nevada will bid on the second-round NASA Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-2) contract to deliver cargo to the International Space Station.

He also said the company may file a formal protest of NASA’s decision to reject its commercial crew bid with the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The deadline for a bid protest, which could lead to a reconsideration of the contract awards, is Sept. 26, and Sirangelo suggested Sierra Nevada may have financial and technical grounds for the action. A final corporate decision, in consultation with the company’s lawyers, was planned following a meeting Sept. 25.

Read the full story.

Sierra Nevada Lays Off Dream Chaser Employees

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Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

In the wake of losing NASA’s Commercial Crew Program competition, Sierra Nevada laid off about 90 employees who had been working on the Dream Chaser space shuttle, the Denver Post reports.

Space Systems chief Mark Sirangelo said many of those let go had been hired in anticipation of the NASA contract.

“We did do a workforce reduction, but it was a relatively minor one compared to what it might have been,” he said.

The layoffs represent a 9.4 percent reduction in Space Systems’ Colorado workforce, he said.

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Sierra Nevada Statement on Commercial Crew Awards

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Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

Sierra Nevada Corporation has issued the following statement concerning the Commercial Crew Program awards to Boeing and SpaceX:

“Sierra Nevada Corporation recognizes that NASA has made a selection of an alternative provider(s) in the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability Contract (CCtCap) competition. SNC is planning to have a debrief session with NASA soon to obtain the source selection statement and decision rationale. When this process is complete and after a thorough evaluation, SNC will elaborate further on its future options regarding the NASA Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract decision and the Dream Chaser program. Due to this pending activity SNC will have no further public statement at this time. We will be providing further information at a later date.

“While SNC is disappointed NASA did not select its Dream Chaser® Space System for the CCtCap contract, SNC commends NASA for initiating the effort and is privileged to have been part of returning human space flight to the United States through our awarded contracts in all other phases of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program over the past four years.”

A Few Thoughts on Commercial Crew….

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It’s been two days since NASA announced commercial crew awards to Boeing and SpaceX. Now that the blogosphere and Twitterati have had their say, let’s step back and take a closer look at the most misunderstood aspect of NASA’s decision.

Much has been made about the disparity in award amounts, with Boeing receiving $4.2 billion and SpaceX “only” $2.6 billion. The difference has been variously attributed to SpaceX’s lean operations, Boeing’s high costs and overhead, and Boeing’s political influence on Capitol Hill. Some people believe NASA shafted SpaceX, giving far less funding to a superior company.

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NASA Awards Commercial Crew Deals to Boeing, SpaceX

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Bolden announced that Boeing and SpaceX will share contracts worth up to $6.8 billion. Details to follow.

Early reports indicate Boeing gets $4.2 billion with SpaceX getting $2.6 billion.

Statement by Space Florida CEO Frank DiBello in Response to NASA’s Commercial Crew Award Announcement 9/16/2014:
“First and foremost, congratulations to Boeing and SpaceX for being selected by NASA to provide commercial crew transport of U.S. astronauts to Low Earth Orbit.
“Today’s announcement is continued good news for Florida and for the nation. It advances a new era in space transportation and is the next major step toward restoring U.S. capability to fly astronauts to the ISS and beyond. Both Boeing and SpaceX have already invested significant time and resources into establishing commercial crew operations here in Florida and we look forward to working hand-in-hand with both companies to make their upcoming missions successful.”