Sierra Nevada’s New VORTEX Upper Stage Engine Closer to Reality

VORTEX engine test (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

SPARKS, Nev., October 11, 2018 (SNC PR) – With its patented VORTEX™ engine technology, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is one step closer to testing a brand new version of its low-cost, high-performance upper stage rocket engine. The VR35K-A, developed in conjunction with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), is a commercialized version of the VORTEX engine system. The team will provide a fully integrated engine, leveraging technologies initially developed under Small Business Innovation Research programs.

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NASA Selects Two Companies to Help Take Out the Deep Space Trash

Sierra Nevada Corporation has evolved heat melt compaction technology from initial development and demonstration efforts to the design of the Trash Compaction and Processing System planned for testing aboard the International Space Station.
(Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and UTC Aerospace Systems (UTAS) to develop systems that can reduce trash volume, and process the resulting atmosphere contaminants during deep space missions. The U.S. companies responded to NASA’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) Appendix F: Logistics Reduction (LR) in Space by Trash Compaction and Processing System (TCPS) Broad Agency Announcement, issued in July.

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Mattel, Inc. Releases Dream Chaser® Spacecraft Matchbox Toy

Mattel Dream Chaser Matchbox® toy. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

SPARKS, Nev. (Sierra Nevada PR) – America’s next generation spaceplane will soon be available in stores. Mattel, Inc. toymaker is releasing a Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Dream Chaser spacecraft Matchbox® toy, which will be sold in stores starting in September.

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Sierra Nevada Completes Key Step for NASA’s NextSTEP-2 Long-Duration Space Travel Study

Concept image of Sierra Nevada Corporation’s habitation prototype, based on its Dream Chaser cargo module. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

SPARKS, Nev., August 9, 2018 (Sierra Nevada PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) completed a NASA study for the Power and Propulsion Element (PPE), which is the first module planned to be launched for NASA’s Gateway in lunar orbit. The study was performed under one of SNC’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships-2 (NextSTEP-2) contracts. SNC plans to submit a bid to win the NASA contract when the agency issues its formal solicitation for the element later this year.

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Sirangelo Joins CU Boulder Engineering as Entrepreneur-in-Residence

Mark Sirangelo (Credit: Alyson McClaran)

BOULDER, Colo. (CU Boulder PR) — Mark Sirangelo, who just concluded his career as the head of aerospace giant Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems, is joining the University of Colorado Boulder as an entrepreneur-in-residence beginning this month. Bobby Braun, dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science, announced today that Sirangelo will join CU Boulder after nearly 10 years at SNC.

“Mark is an aerospace visionary who recognizes that CU Boulder is a premier research and innovation engine for the United States and the hub of Colorado’s aerospace ecosystem,” Braun said. “A leader in entrepreneurial space, a contributor to national security, a pilot and veteran, Mark’s expertise and creativity are a perfect mix for this groundbreaking institution.”

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Sirangelo Resigns from Sierra Nevada Corporation

Mark Sirangelo (Credit: SNC)

Mark Sirangelo has resigned from Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) for what CEO Fatih Ozmen, owner says are personal reasons, Space News reports. He had run SNC’s Space Systems Division for nearly a decade after his former company, SpaceDev, was acquired.

“We are proud and grateful for all we have achieved in partnership with Mark over the last ten years,” Ozmen said. “Mark has an inspiring enthusiasm for space and a strong entrepreneurial spirit, both of which he has cultivated among our exceptionally talented Space Systems team.”

In an internal memo, Sirangelo said his departure was a “friendly transition” from the company and “is being made from a positive personal place.” The memo, obtained by SpaceNews, was first published by SpaceRef.

“I understand this change may be perceived as challenging but I wanted you to know that the state of our business is very good with strong leadership behind it,” Sirangelo said in the memo to employees. “We were a founding entity of the new commercial space industry and are now seen as one of its most successful leaders.”

Sirangelo said that Fatih Ozmen and Eren Ozmen, the president and co-owner of SNC, were “completely and positively committed” to its space systems business, and that he had been working with them on a transition plan for his departure for weeks. Sirangelo said he would work with company leadership on transition activities through July and serve in a “strategic advisory capacity for some time” after leaving the company.

Paragon Developing Advanced Radiator for Inflatable Habitats

Paragon Space Development Corporation will develop a flexible radiator for inflatable habitats and an improved condenser for use on human space missions with the help of NASA funding.

The space agency has selected the Tuscon, Ariz.-based company for two contracts under its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1 program. The agreements are worth up to $125,000 apiece over 13 months.

The target market for Paragon’s Flexible Radiator (FlexRAD) is “long duration human spaceflight exploration missions and other spacecraft” that use a single loop  active thermal control system (ATCS).

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NASA’s ISS Transition Report — Executive Summary

The International Space Station is featured in this image photographed by an STS-133 crew member on space shuttle Discovery. (Credit: NASA)

International Space Station Transition Report
NASA
March 30, 2018

Full Report (PDF)

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017 (P.L. 115-10) provided for an ISS Transition Report under section 303:

The Administrator, in coordination with the ISS management entity (as defined in section 2 of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Transition Authorization Act of 2017), ISS partners, the scientific user community, and the commercial space sector, shall develop a plan to transition in a step-wise approach from the current regime that relies heavily on NASA sponsorship to a regime where NASA could be one of many customers of a low-Earth orbit non-governmental human space flight enterprise.

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NASA Armstrong Says Hasta la Vista to Dream Chaser

Dream Chaser departs in front of HL-10 at NASA Armstrong where it underwent testing and preparation for successful approach and landing flight. The spacecraft returned to SNC facility in Colorado. (Credits: NASA Photo/Ken Ulbrich)

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — After nearly 16 months at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California (AFRC), Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser spacecraft departed April 5. The flight test vehicle is headed to Colorado to be on display in one of the company facilities and may be used to support future manufacturing and ground testing operations

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Sierra Nevada Receives Official NASA Launch Window for Dream Chaser

Dream Chaser lands (Credit: NASA)

SPARKS, Nev. (February, 7, 2018) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) received NASA’s Authority to Proceed for the Dream Chaser spacecraft’s first mission, with a launch window for late 2020. The mission will provide cargo resupply to the International Space Station under the Commercial Resupply Services Contract 2 (CRS2).

“SNC has been successfully completing critical design milestones as approved by NASA, and having a timetable for the first launch is another important step achieved for us,” said Fatih Ozmen, owner and CEO of SNC.  “The team has worked so hard to get to this point and we can’t wait to fulfill this mission for NASA.”

Key Mission Capabilities:

  • Delivers up to 5,500 kg (12,125 lb) of pressurized and unpressurized supplies and scientific research payloads
  • Remains attached to the space station for extended periods so crew can transfer cargo and perform science laboratory operations
  • Flying laboratory that allows scientists to send commands, receive data in real-time
  • Powered payload science experiments can operate continuously during the mission
  • Critical science is conducted from the pressurized cabin (crew-tended or autonomous)
  • Unpressurized cargo/experiments are transferred to or from the space station via robotic operations
  • Returns up to 2,000 kg of cargo via pinpoint landing at NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) for immediate post-landing handover to customer, maximizing the integrity of data collected on-orbit

“The Dream Chaser is going to be a tremendous help to the critical science and research happening on the space station,” said Mark Sirangelo, executive vice president of SNC’s Space Systems business area. “Receiving NASA’s Authority to Proceed is a big step for the program. We can’t wait to see the vehicle return to Kennedy Space Center to a runway landing, allowing immediate access to the science payloads being returned from the station.”

Sierra Nevada Signs Contract with NASA for Deep Space Habitat Prototype

Artist rendering of conceptual design for deep space habitat. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

SPARKS, Nev. (January 25, 2018) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has formalized its agreement with NASA under Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships-2 (NextSTEP-2), signing a contract to design and develop a prototype for a deep space habitat. The formal signing of the contract under NextSTEP Broad Agency Announcement, Appendix A: Habitat Systems, aimed at enabling potential long-duration human missions in deep space, clears the way for actual production of SNC’s prototype in the coming months.

SNC is partnering with Aerojet Rocketdyne and ILC Dover to begin the conceptual architectural design; they will build a full-scale ground prototype of the main habitable volume over the next 19 months.

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Sierra Nevada Corporation’s STPSat-5 Satellite Completes Ground Compatibility Testing

STPSat-5 satellite in SNC’s Louisville, CO facility. (Credit: SNC)

SPARKS, Nev. — January 24, 2018 (SNC PR) –  Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Space Test Program Mission 5 (STPSat-5) satellite moved another step closer to launch, successfully completing its Factory Compatibility Test (FCT) with NASA’s Near-Earth Network and the NASA Ames Multi-Mission Operations Center.

STPSat-5 hosts five Department of Defense (DoD) experiments to test emerging space technologies and is expected to launch in 2018.  SNC completed mechanical integration in September, stacking three functional modules (propulsion, bus and payload deck) to form the complete space vehicle.

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A Look Back at the Space Year That Was

Total solar eclipse photographed from NASA Armstrong’s Gulfstream III. (Credit: (NASA/Carla Thomas)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

I realize it’s a bit late, but here’s a look back at the major developments in space in 2017.

I know that I’m probably forgetting something, or several somethings or someones. Fortunately, I have eagle-eyed readers who really seem to enjoy telling me just how much I’ve screwed up. Some of them a little too much….

So, have at it!  Do your worst, eagle-eyed readers!

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Branson’s Autobiography Part II: A Bad Day at Koehn Lake

SpaceShipTwo breaks up after the premature deployment of its feather system. (Credit: MARS Scientific/NTSB)

Part 2 of 3

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Finding My Virginity: The New Autobiography
Richard Branson
Portfolio
Oct. 10, 2017
482 pages

In his new book, Richard Branson recounts that on the morning of Oct. 31, 2014, he was on his private Caribbean island in a state of “schoolboy excitement.” The reason? Three time zones away in California’s Mojave Desert, Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites were conducting the longest and most ambitious flight test of the SpaceShipTwo suborbital tourism vehicle.

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