Tag: Sierra Nevada CorporationPage 2 of 19

Sierra Nevada Corporation Announces New Dream Chaser Spacecraft – Designated Landing Site Program

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Dream Chaser landing at Ellington Field. (Cedit: SNC)

Dream Chaser landing at Ellington Field. (Cedit: SNC)

SPARKS, Nev., September 10, 2015 (SNC PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Space Systems announces the launch of a new program, the Dream Chaser®-Preferred Landing Site Program, in which SNC will work with spaceports and commercial airports to become a designated landing site for the Dream Chaser spacecraft.

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NASA Again Delays CRS2 Contract Awards

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NASA LOGONASA now expects to award new International Space Station cargo supply contracts on Nov. 5, about five months behind the original schedule.

On its website, the space agency said it needed “additional time to evaluate Final Proposal Revisions (FPRs)” for the Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contracts.

NASA released its request for proposals on Sept. 25, 2014, with proposals due last Dec. 2. The award date was originally set for May, but it then slipped to June then September and now November.

Orbital ATK and SpaceX, who now hold CRS contacts. The companies have submitted proposals for the CRS-2 contract along with Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Sierra Nevada Corporation.

Sierra Nevada Matures Dream Chaser Thermal Protection System

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Dream Chaser (Credit: NASA)

Dream Chaser (Credit: NASA)

SPARKS, Nev. (June 26, 2015) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has successfully completed several significant Thermal Protection System (TPS) material development tests for its Dream Chaser® spacecraft. The TPS is responsible for protecting crew members and cargo from the high temperatures the spacecraft will experience during re-entry.

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Dream Chaser Prepped for Flight Test

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Dream Chaser (Credit: NASA)

Dream Chaser (Credit: NASA)

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser engineering test article is being prepped for its second free-flight test at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California later this year. The flight test is a milestone under NASA’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) agreement with SNC.  The wings, windows and landing gear are installed. The Dream Chaser’s the nose skid will have thermal protection system tiles on the vehicle, manufactured at Kennedy Space Center’s Thermal Protection System Facility, for the flight test. The performance of the tiles will be assessed following the touch down on the runway.

SNC will share their thermal protection system work and a status of the Dream Chaser spacecraft to media and social media attending CRS-7 activities at Kennedy Space Center next week.

Alabama to Study Landing SNC’s Dream Chaser in Huntsville

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Dream Chaser landing at Ellington Field. (Cedit: SNC)

Dream Chaser landing at Ellington Field. (Cedit: SNC)

PARIS, FRANCE (Alabama Governor’s Office PR) — Governor Robert Bentley on Monday announced plans to initiate a series of preliminary studies to assess the feasibility of landing Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Dream Chaser® spacecraft at Huntsville International Airport.

The announcement was the second one made Monday at the Paris Air Show, which Governor Bentley is not attending because of timing issues related to the end of the 2015 Legislative Session.

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Flashback: Virgin Galactic Announces Switch From Rubber to Nylon Engine

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RocketMotorTwo firing. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

RocketMotorTwo firing. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Parabolic Arc Flashback: One year ago, Virgin Galactic announced it changing SpaceShipTwo’s propulsion system from a rubber hybrid to a nylon hybrid engine due to demonstrated better performance. The news was announced on a Friday at the start of long holiday weekends in the U.S. and Britain, a perfect time to dump news when neither reporters nor the public are paying much attention. Sierra Nevada, by the way, was blindsided that their rubber engine was being dropped and their lucrative agreement was going away.

Today, the nylon engine decision is being re-evaluated due to performance. The company recently revealed it is testing both hybid engines again, and it might go back to using the rubber one. That means the company still doesn’t know how its going to power its spacecraft despite being nearly 11 years into the SpaceShipTwo program. That explains why it is taking as long as it is.

MOJAVE, Calif., May 23, 2014 (Virgin Galactic PR) – Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial spaceline which is owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Abu Dhabi’s aabar Investments PJS, has selected a polyamide-based fuel grain to power its hybrid rocket motor for the remainder of the test flight program and start of commercial operations. This decision follows numerous ground test firings and is supported by data collected over an extensive development program.

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News Briefs: CRS2 Delayed, Accident Updates, Blue Origin & Dream Chaser Flights

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SpaceShipTwo disintegrates as its two tail booms fall away. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

SpaceShipTwo disintegrates as its two tail booms fall away. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

Several agencies gave presentations yesterday before the National Research Council’s Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board. Jeff Foust of SpaceNews reported on the following updates:

  • NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations Bill Gerstenmaier said the agency has delayed a decision on its Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contracts from June to September to allow more time to evaluate bids. Known bidders include SpaceX, Orbital ATK, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Sierra Nevada Corporation.
  • Gerstenmaier said Sierra Nevada’s final funded commercial crew milestone — a second drop test of the Dream Chaser shuttle — is now scheduled for December.
  • FAA Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation (FAA AST) George Nield reported that Blue Origin will be flying its suborbital New Shepard spacecraft within weeks.
  • Nield said the NTSB will be providing FAA AST with a report on the SpaceShipTwo accident within a month or two. He expects a final report to be published sometime in the summer.
  • Nield said he expects an accident report from Orbital ATK on last October’s Antares failure within the next several weeks.

Video Presentation of Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser Cargo Variant

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Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Mark Sirangelo’s presentation of the autonomous version of the “Dream Chaser”.

Sierra Nevada Corporation and the German Aerospace Center Announce New Dream Chaser® Program Cooperation

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Dream Chaser landing at Ellington Field. (Cedit: SNC)

Dream Chaser landing at Ellington Field. (Cedit: SNC)

SPARKS, Nev. (April 16, 2015) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC’s) Space Systems and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) announce the signing of a new Dream Chaser® program cooperation during the U.S. German Aerospace Roundtable (UGART) at the 31st annual Space Symposium hosted by the Space Foundation in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“We highly value our partnership with the German Aerospace Center,” said Mark N. Sirangelo, corporate vice president, SNC’s Space Systems. “This relationship is a great example of the best-in-industry and government agency partnerships, both domestic and international, that we have sought.  Our Dream Team will continue the advancement of the Dream Chaser, which is a true global program. We look forward to the next phase of our cooperation with DLR as we enter this new agreement.”

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Sierra Nevada Corporation and Houston Airport System Announce New Agreement

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Dream Chaser landing at Ellington Field. (Cedit: SNC)

Dream Chaser landing at Ellington Field. (Cedit: SNC)

SPARKS, Nev. (March 24, 2015) – Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Space Systems and the Houston Airport System (HAS) announce a new follow-on agreement to utilize Ellington Airport’s Spaceport as a future landing site for SNC’s Uncrewed Dream Chaser® spacecraft – SNC’s solution for NASA’s Cargo Resupply needs and other critical space operations.

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Sierra Nevada Corporation and NASA Amend CCiCap Partnership Agreement for Dream Chaser Space System

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Dream Chaser landing at Ellington Field. (Cedit: SNC)

Dream Chaser landing at Ellington Field. (Cedit: SNC)

SPARKS, Nev. (March 23, 2015) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is pleased to announce it has amended its current Space Act Agreement (SAA), adding a significant development milestone to the Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) partnership with NASA. The amendment, which extends the period of performance through March 2016, introduces unfunded Milestone 41, Design Analysis Cycle-6 Closeout Review – demonstrating the advancement of the Dream Chaser® Space System design from a Preliminary Design Review (PDR) level of maturity toward a Critical Design Review (CDR) level.

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SpaceX’s Busy To-Do List for Rest of 2015

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SpaceX vehicle integration building at Pad 39A. (Credit: NASA)

SpaceX vehicle integration building at Pad 39A. (Credit: NASA)

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell was making the rounds last week in Washington, D.C., speaking before the Satellite 2015 conference and a House Armed Services subcommittee meeting. Much of the focus was on the latter, where Shotwell engaged in a she said-he said battle over launch costs with United Launch Alliance CEO Tory Bruno.

More interesting were the updates Shotwell provided on SpaceX’s plans for 2015 and beyond. What emerged is just how crowded the company’s agenda is for the rest of the year. The table below provides a summary.

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SNC Unveils Dream Chaser Cargo Variant

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

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

SPARKS, Nev. March 17, 2015 (SNC PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC)  unveiled a new Dream Chaser® mission variant today, the Dream Chaser Cargo System, SNC’s complete system solution for NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS2) contract.

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Battle Heats Up for Next Round of ISS Supply Contracts

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Cygnus and ISS robotic arm (Credit: NASA)

Cygnus and ISS robotic arm (Credit: NASA)

It appears as if at least five companies have submitted bids for NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contract to send cargo ships to the International Space Station.

The Washington Post reports current cargo shippers Orbital ATK and SpaceX have been joined in the bidding by Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Sierra Nevada Corporation. NASA is likely to once again award two contracts for a series of supply missions.

Boeing is working on its CST-100 spacecraft to send human crews to the station. Lockheed Martin recently tested the Orion deep-space capsule it is building for NASA. And Sierra Nevada Corporation has its Dream Chaser shuttle.

Meanwhile, NASA has awarded contracts for four more cargo flights to the space station under an extension of its existing CRS program. SpaceX will fly three additional missions using its Dragon cargo ship; Orbital ATK will get one more flight of the Cygnus freighter.

SNC: So Close Yet So Far….

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Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

The Washington Post looks at the aftermath of Sierra Nevada Corporation losing NASA’s Commercial Crew Program contract to Being and SpaceX:

On the day of the contract announcement, Mark Sirangelo, director of the company’s space program, took the call at his desk. It was not good news. “Like a death in the family,” he would later say.

And so Sierra Nevada entered a realm particular to the world of government contracting: that of the big-time corporate loser.

Ford will survive if someone decides to buy a Chevrolet, and it won’t break Denny’s if you eat breakfast at IHOP. But the stakes are higher for contractors who put everything on the line in a marketplace dominated by a single customer: the federal government.

The loser’s locker room is a scene of despair, anger, calls for litigious revenge. There is lost revenue, sometimes layoffs, even bankruptcy. In Sierra Nevada’s case, it had a spaceship suddenly in search of a mission and now even more pressure to find a customer to fly it….

The consequences are more pronounced in the landmark, and increasingly rare, multibillion-dollar opportunities such as the one Sierra Nevada was pursuing. Winners can be guaranteed a stream of orders that last years, if not decades. Lose, and you could be shut out of an industry for good.

Read the full story.