Issue #2(24) 2020 Astronautics

Key technologies for space exploration

Sierra Nevada Corporation
Sierra Nevada Corporation
Thomas Crabb Sierra Nevada Corporation Space Systems, Madison, WA, USA
Robert Richter Martin Chiaverini, Sierra Nevada Corporation, Madison WA, USA
Martin Chiaverini Director of Propulsion Systems, Sierra Nevada Corporation, Madison, Wisconsin, USASierra

Sierra Nevada Corporation is best known as the owner and operator of the Dream Chaser® spaceplane, a multi-mission space utility vehicle capable of transporting cargo - and eventually crew - to low Earth orbit. But there is more to the company than this. As Thomas Crabb, Robert Richter and Martin Chiaverini explain, the company recognises propulsion systems and environmental systems as key technologies in the broader space exploration endeavour.

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has been closely involved in space exploration and utilisation for more than 30 years. Privately owned since 1994 by a husband-and-wife team, CEO Fatih Ozmen and company President Eren Ozmen, SNC has expanded in those three decades from a small company of less than 20 people to a global aerospace contender of nearly 4000.

Headquartered in Louisville, Colorado, SNC’s Space Systems Group - which serves US government, commercial and international customers worldwide - provides everything from entire spacecraft to specific space technologies and individual parts and components. The company has been involved in more than 450 successful space missions and delivered more than 4000 systems, subsystems and components for spacecraft travelling throughout the solar system.

The first official Dream Chaser mission will be for NASA, moving cargo to and from the International Space Station (ISS), for which the launch window opens in late 2021. SNC will complete at least six missions for NASA under the Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contract, utilising Dream Chaser and an attached Shooting Star transport vehicle to carry critical supplies like food, water and science experiments to the station before returning to Earth with a gentle runway landing.

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Time to overcome the expendable rocket mindset


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