Company - Sierra Space (Sierra Nevada Corp, SNC)
Product/Service - Dream Chaser, Shooting Star
- Cargo Transportation & Landers
- Transport Service (Earth-LEO)
Transport Service (Re-Entry)
ISRU (In Situ Resource Utilization)
- Space Capsule
- First launch
The First-Ever Winged Commercial Spaceplane
- Capable of gentle 1.5G runway landings, ideal for precious cargo, especially human passengers.
- Accommodates more than 12,000 pounds of supplies and equipment.
- NASA resupply missions for the International Space Station begin in 2023.
- Configuration intended for up to seven crewmembers, plus critical supplies.
- Compatible with a wide array of current and future launch vehicles.
Under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contract, Dream Chaser will provide a minimum of seven cargo service missions to and from the space station.
Another key element of Dream Chaser is a cargo module, called Shooting Star, that is attached to the aft end of Dream Chaser. That module gives the vehicle additional capacity for transporting cargo to the station as well as a means of disposing cargo from the station.
We’ve worked on designs that would allow it to even carry a couple of astronauts in either a low Earth orbit standalone mission or to supplement ISS capabilities or even to do free-flying missions. The module also be repurposed for cislunar missions, such as transporting cargo to NASA’s lunar Gateway.
Awarded a contract to repurpose SNC’s Shooting Star transport vehicle as a proposed commercial solution for an Unmanned Orbital Outpost – essentially a scalable, autonomous space station for experiments and logistics demonstrations – by the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU). SNC’s Shooting Star transport vehicle serves as the core structure for the proposed design.
In 2022, announced the successful completion of its $3.0M Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase III Test Readiness Review (TRR) with NASA for its carbothermal reduction technology. The Sierra Space system, developed over multiple contracts with NASA, processes and extracts oxygen from minerals in lunar regolith (soil) for use as astronaut life support and in propellant manufacturing in space. Producing oxygen on the moon is a key component for a sustained presence in space and reduces costs by not having to transport the critical element to space on launch.
Human Spaceflight Center
Announced in 2022 that it is creating the world’s first fully integrated commercial human spaceflight center and astronaut training academy.
Product/Service - Orbital Reef, LIFE Habitat
- Space Stations & Habitats
- Commercial Space Station
- Commercial ISS Module
Inflatable Atmospheric Decelerator
- First launch
Built in collaboration with Blue Origin, Sierra Space’s Orbital Reef team also includes aerospace giant Boeing and the contractors Redwire Space and Genesis Engineering. The new space station is intended to be habitable by at least 10 people by 2027 with Sierra Space’s accompanying Dream Chaser® spaceplane expected to be ready for deployment by 2025 to provide transportation.
Sierra Space and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) have signed an agreement to study collaboration on technologies to support a planned commercial space station. The two companies announced a memorandum of understanding regarding collaboration on a “wide range of technologies” that could be used for Orbital Reef, a commercial space station announced last October with Sierra Space as one of the lead partners.
Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is continuing to advance its development of the company’s LIFE™ Habitat (Large Inflatable Fabric Environment) under Phase 3 of NASA’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP-2) Appendix A habitat program. In Phase 3, NASA has asked companies to focus on habitat design concepts that could be used on the lunar surface or as a Mars transportation habitat to test at the Gateway.
SNC’s LIFE habitat is unique in that it launches on a conventional rocket and inflates on-orbit to a large structure that is three stories tall, and 27 feet in diameter. It can comfortably sleep four astronauts, with additional room for science experiments, exercise equipment, a medical center and SNC’s Astro Garden® system, which the company is developing as an option to grow fresh produce for astronauts on long-duration space missions.
Plans to launch a commercial space station with inflatable human habitats within seven years. The company's orbiting space station has no name yet. The space station is a configuration of multiple large inflatable LIFE™ habitats that can be serviced by both cargo and crew carrying Dream Chaser® spaceplanes. SNC also released that a crewed Dream Chaser will be able to shuttle private astronauts and to serve as the only vehicle capable of rescuing astronauts from space destinations and returning them to Earth via a safe and speedy runway landing.
Product/Service - Veggie, XROOTS
- In-Space Manufacturing
- In-Space Manufacturing
- Food for Space
- First launch
In March of 2014, Veggie, a modularly designed vegetable production plant growth unit, developed and built in partnership with Sierra Space and Kennedy Space Center, was integrated by NASA aboard the International Space Station (ISS). This system provided sufficient lighting for plant growth making it possible for to successfully grow red romaine lettuce. After a safety analysis in 2015, U.S. astronauts were able to eat fresh produce for the first time on-orbit.
The eXposed Root On-Orbit Test System (XROOTS) investigation uses hydroponic and aeroponic techniques to grow plants without soil or other growth media. Video and still images enable evaluation of multiple independent growth chambers for the entire plant life cycle from seed germination through maturity. Results could identify suitable methods to produce crops on a larger scale for future space missions.
Dragon CRS-2 SpX-26 had onboard are Red Robin dwarf cherry tomato seeds for the Veg-05 experiment. This experiment is part of the ongoing research from Veggie, a modularly designed vegetable production plant growth unit, developed and built in partnership with Sierra Space and Kennedy Space Center.
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