Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Space Systems and the Houston Airport System (HAS) announced Tuesday, March 24, 2015, 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.
“Entering into this new agreement with HAS will lead to enabling all variants of the Dream Chaser spacecraft to land in Houston, offering the ability to return cargo and science to Houston directly from space,” said Mark Sirangelo, corporate vice president of SNC’s Space Systems. “Through this agreement, we want to promote broad awareness of the importance of utilizing low-Earth orbit as a source of research, science and the expansion of space flight that are critical to Houston’s ongoing position as a ‘Space City.’ Houston has earned its place at the forefront of space exploration with such institutes as NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Rice Space University, the Texas Medical Center, the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership and many other organizations.”
The objectives of this new agreement include exploring the applications and opportunities
between HAS and SNC utilizing the Uncrewed Dream Chaser spacecraft to serve the needs of government, science, research, consumer and commercial enterprise while also building awareness of the positive economic impact of the Ellington Airport/Spaceport to the state of Texas. The new agreement is in anticipation of HAS receiving its spaceport license approval for Ellington Airport.
“The Houston Airport System is pleased to continue working with Sierra Nevada Corporation as a landing site for their Dream Chaser spacecraft,” said Arturo Machuca, general manager, Ellington Airport. “As we move into the final phase of receiving our spaceport license it is important that HAS work with private industry to ensure the sustainability of the Houston Spaceport. The Dream Chaser spacecraft, with its unique horizontal runway landing capability, low-g entry and use of non-toxic propulsion, makes it an ideal test bed for biomedical, pharmaceutical, cellular and genetic research payloads. Houston, a leader in space-based biomedical research, is eager to work with SNC to sustain and advance these research opportunities in low-Earth orbit, then gently return them directly to Houston for immediate unloading.”
The Dream Chaser Cargo System is an autonomous system developed to provide cargo transportation services to the International Space Station (ISS). The Dream Chaser Cargo Systems is a mission variant of the Dream Chaser Space System that exceeds NASA’s goals for cargo transportation to the ISS, including rapid return of critical science.
About Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems
Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems business area based in Louisville, Colorado, designs and manufactures advanced spacecraft, space vehicles, rocket motors and spacecraft subsystems and components for the U.S. Government, commercial customers, as well as for the international market. SNC’s Space Systems has more than 25 years of space heritage and has participated in over 400 successful space missions through the delivery of over 4,000 systems, subsystems and components. During its history, SNC’s Space Systems has concluded over 70 programs for NASA and over 50 other clients. For more information about SNC’s Space Systems visit sncspace.com and follow us on Facebook
About Sierra Nevada Corporation
Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), headquartered in Sparks, Nevada, is among the “World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Space.” Over the last 30 years, under the leadership of President Eren Ozmen and CEO Fatih Ozmen, SNC has become one of America’s fastest-growing private companies and the Top Woman-Owned Federal Contractor in the United States. With a workforce of over 3,000 personnel in 31 locations in 17 states and three locations in Europe, SNC has a reputation for rapid, innovative, and agile technology solutions in electronics, aerospace, avionics, space, propulsion, micro-satellite, aircraft, communications systems and solar energy.
SNC has six unique business areas that are dedicated to providing leading-edge solutions to its dynamic customer base. SNC has a proven track record of success spanning more than five decades. It is focused on providing its customers with the very best in diversified technologies and continues to focus its growth on the commercial sector through internal advancements in dual-use applications and outside acquisitions including the emerging markets of telemedicine, Cyber and net-centric operations.
About Houston Airport System
The Houston Airport System (HAS) consists of three individual airport facilities, which collectively represent a $27.5 billion economic impact to the Houston region. Through commercial air service at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and William P. Hobby Airport (HOU), air passengers in the nation’s fourth-largest city have nonstop flight access to more than 170 destinations worldwide. Handling more than 50 million passengers on an annual basis, HAS stands as one of the busiest airport systems operating anywhere in the world connecting the City of Houston on a global scale.
Ellington Airport (EFD), located within 15 minutes of downtown Houston, is a joint-use facility handling both general aviation operations and flights involving the United States military, the Department of Homeland Security and NASA. Ellington Airport already supports more than 10,000 Houston-area jobs and carries an annual economic impact of $641 million. That impact is set to become even stronger in the future, as the Houston Airport System moves forward in its drive to establish Ellington Airport as the tenth licensed spaceport in the United States. With ample acreage available for business development, a strong cluster of aerospace companies already in the area and a robust transportation network, Ellington Airport has all the requirements necessary to establish a dynamic commercial spaceport.