Sierra Space, Oita Prefecture and Kanematsu Corporation Sign Agreement to Explore Possible Landing Site for Dream Chaser Spaceplane in Japan

Credit: Sierra Space

LOUISVILLE, Colo. (Sierra Space PR) – Sierra Space, a leading commercial space company with 1,100 employees, more than 500 missions and over 30 years of space flight heritage, and Kanematsu Corporation announced today that the companies have jointly signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Oita Prefecture agreeing to investigate Oita Airport in Kunisaki, Oita, Japan, as a potential landing site in Asia for Sierra Space’s Dream Chaser® spaceplane.

With the announcement, Sierra Space and Kanematsu will work together to identify and develop new business opportunities for Sierra Space’s Dream Chaser in Japan and across the Asian continent.

Oita Prefecture Governor Katsusada Hirose (tentative) commented,

“We are honored and pleased to be able to share this vision with the world-leading space company, Sierra Space. This is tremendous recognition for Oita’s potential in industrial clusters and tourism resources. We will proceed with our feasibility study along with Kanematsu to utilize Oita Airport as a landing site in Asia for Sierra Space. Furthermore, we expect that this collaboration will expand to various fields such as business and education, inspiring children and companies in Oita.”

Sierra Space CEO Tom Vice added,

“At Sierra Space we are building a platform in space to benefit life on Earth. Our work on the next generation of space transportation, commercial space destinations and enabling technologies is spearheaded by the Dream Chaser® spaceplane – a multi-variant space vehicle which leverages flexible design and performance versatility with the ability to land on existing commercial runways worldwide. Through this project with Oita Prefecture and Kanematsu Corporation, we can envisage a future where the Oita Space Port is a hub for Dream Chaser landings, enabling returning space missions to land in Japan as part of our growing global network of landing sites.” 

Space Port Japan Representative Director Naoko Yamazaki, said,

”We are pleased that Oita Prefecture and Kanematsu Corporation have joined forces through the Space Port Japan membership network to discuss the possibility of establishing a landing site in Asia for Sierra Space’s Dream Chaser® spaceplane. SPJ will continue to support the study and contribute to the development of the space industry.”

Kanematsu Corporation President Yoshiya Miyabe noted,

“We are very pleased to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Oita Prefecture, a potential leader to be a spaceport in Asia, and Sierra Space, a world leader in the space industry, during the 33rd International Symposium on Space Technology and Science. Through this partnership, Kanematsu will not only create new businesses, but also contribute to STEAM education in Asia. We believe that this partnership will lead to the growth of the space business in Oita Prefecture and the Asian region.”

About Sierra Space

Sierra Space products and programs are working towards a more accessible space economy. The company is rapidly advancing toward the launch of the world’s only winged commercial spaceplane, the Dream Chaser®. As the next generation of space transportation, the Dream Chaser will perform cargo supply and return missions for NASA, set to begin in late 2022, delivering up to 12,000 pounds of cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) at a time. The return journey will carry critical data, generated by ISS researcher experiments, enabling earth-bound scientists to benefit from much faster access to these unique results. Dream Chaser is a reusable spaceplane, uniquely capable of a smooth 1.5 low-g re-entry for crew and cargo transportation with the ability to land on existing commercial runways worldwide.

Sierra Space is the developer of the Large Integrated Flexible Environment (LIFETM) Habitat, a modular, three-story commercial habitation and science platform. The unique structure will provide opportunities for multiple businesses including manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and other sectors, to optimize zero gravity benefits. The LIFE Habitat will be able to be deployed in low Earth orbit, on the lunar surface, or lunar orbit, and as a transport vehicle to Mars. Both Dream Chaser and LIFE Habitat will launch using conventional rocket propulsion systems.

The Dream Chaser spaceplane and LIFE platform are central components of the joint partnership Orbital Reef commercial space station and mixed-use business park being developed in partnership with Blue Origin.