The NASA Advisory Council has been meeting in Cleveland this week, receiving program updates from top agency officials. Below is a summary of the first two days based on Tweets by Jeff Foust (@jeff_foust) and Marcia Smith (@SpcPlcyOnline). There are updates below on:
SPARKS, Nev., June 25, 2016 (SNC PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has passed the second Integration Certification Milestone under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contract. NASA assessed and fully approved SNC’s detailed approach for getting the Dream Chaser Cargo System to the International Space Station (ISS).
SPARKS, Nev. (July 11, 2016) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is pleased to announce the successful completion of ISS Integration Certification Milestone 1 for the Dream Chaser Cargo System under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS2) contract.
A Station that Needs Everything A Scrappy Startup Contracted to Ship 35.4 Metric Tons of It Ought to be Easy Enough, Right?
By Douglas Messier Managing Editor
The International Space Station (ISS) is not exactly a self-sufficient outpost. The station’s occupants can’t jump into a Soyuz and pop over to an orbiting Wal-Mart when they run out of food, water or toothpaste. Everything the six astronauts need to survive — save for the random plastic wrench or replacement part they can now 3-D print — must be shipped up from the majestic blue planet 400 km below them.
The second day of the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference took place in Colorado on Friday. Although I wasn’t able to attend, I have compiled highlights via Twitter posts. (You can follow along with hashtag #nsrc2016.)
Below is a summary of updates that cover Sierra Nevada Corporation, Cecil Airport, Spaceport Colorado, FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation, World View Enterprises, NASA Flight Opportunities Program.
There was a presentation by Charles Walker, who was the first person to perform commercial experiments in space as a payload specialist on three space shuttle missions.
A separate panel discussion on human-tended space research reached the unsurprising consensus that government should lift its ban on sending scientists into space with their experiments.
SPARKS, Nev., March 1, 2016 (SNC PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Space Systems was recently awarded a contract to provide multiple Passive Common Berthing Mechanisms (PCBM) by Special Aerospace Services (SAS) of Boulder, Colorado for Orbital ATK’s Cygnus advanced maneuvering spacecraft in support of NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 1 and 2 (CRS1, CRS2) programs.
SpaceX’s cancellation of a Falcon 9 launch on Thursday was the second scrub in 24 hours related to fueling problems.
The launch was canceled with 1 minute, 40 seconds left to go in the countdown. The problem related to loading of super cold “densified” liquid oxygen (LOX) that has been added to the newest variant of SpaceX’s launch vehicle.
SpaceX had the highest rating and mission price in the Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS2) contract competition, with Orbital ATK and Sierra Nevada Corporation running neck and neck for second place. Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin and Boeing finished out of the running due to cost.
Once the agreement is signed, ESA will begin work building the first flight model of the International Berthing and Docking Mechanism (IBDM), which Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser Cargo System will use to attach itself to the space station.
ESA said it would spend 33 million euros ($36 million) to complete the design of the IBDM and build a flight model for Dream Chaser’s first cargo run. Future IBDMs will be financed by Sierra Nevada, ESA said.
ESA and Sierra Nevada in early 2014 agreed to adapt the IBDM to Sierra Nevada’s winged Dream Chaser, which was originally designed to carry astronauts and more recently has been adapted for unmanned cargo missions.
The agency spent about 8 million euros on the early work, which slowed after Sierra Nevada failed to win a NASA contract to send commercial crews to the space station.
ESA said it had spent some 20 million euros in total in recent years working on IBDM and on preparatory work for Dream Chaser.
At a press conference last week, ESA Director-General Johann-Dietrich Woerner said it was possible that Dream Chaser would be launched aboard Europe’s Ariane 5 booster from French Guiana. He said ESA could use the vehicle to launch microgravity experiments into space that would be returned to Earth.
NASA announced three cargo contract awards to ensure robust and affordable transportation of critical supplies, scientific experiments and commercial payloads to and from the International Space Station (ISS) through at least 2024. NASA selected Orbital ATK, Sierra Nevada Corporation, and SpaceX to continue and expand upon its successful public-private partnerships with American companies to obtain reliable cargo resupply services for the ISS.
SPARKS, Nev. (January 14, 2016) – Today, NASA competitively selected Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Space Systems to receive a multi-year contract to provide cargo delivery, return and disposal services for the International Space Station (ISS). SNC received a Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS2) contract, to fulfill a minimum of six cargo delivery service missions to and from the ISS utilizing SNC’s Dream Chaser Cargo System. NASA’s selection of SNC for the CRS2 program will enable spacecraft reusability and runway landings for United States’ cargo delivery and access to the ISS through 2024.
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA has awarded three cargo contracts to ensure the critical science, research and technology demonstrations that are informing the agency’s journey to Mars are delivered to the International Space Station (ISS) from 2019 through 2024. The agency unveiled its selection of Orbital ATK of Dulles, Virginia; Sierra Nevada Corporation of Sparks, Nevada; and SpaceX of Hawthorne, California to continue building on the initial resupply partnerships with two American companies.
MADISON, 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.
SPARKS, Nev. (Nov. 30, 2015) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has delivered 11 ORBCOMM Generation 2 (OG2) satellites to the launch site at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, for ORBCOMM’s upcoming OG2 Mission 2 launch aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, which is targeted for mid-December 2015. As the prime contractor for ORBCOMM’s OG2 satellites, SNC is responsible for the design, manufacture and integration of the OG2 satellites in the constellation.
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.