In a joint news conference held today at the Rice University Space Institute, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and the Houston Airport System (HAS) announced plans to explore potential applications and multiple economic development opportunities presented by the combination of a Houston-based spaceport and SNC’sDream Chaser® – a spacecraft that can land at the spaceport directly from low-Earth orbit.
SNC and HAS signed a letter of intent to work together to explore the possibilities associated with the proposed Houston Spaceport including a wide range of educational, technological, scientific and business capacities. As part of the cooperative initiative, the organizations will study the physical, operational and regulatory requirements for SNC’s commercial space vehicle, Dream Chaser, to utilize the spaceport as one of its potential landing sites. This effort will contribute to defining a long range strategy for the diversification and development of a vibrant commercial space industry in Texas, serving the needs of government, science and commercial applications.
“Houston has been a cornerstone of America’s space program and remains vital for its future. Dream Chaser’s ability to land on a commercial runway such as Ellington offers, for the first time, a realistic path for America’s space program to return and be seen locally by the thousands of people who make space happen every day in Houston and give tribute to the generations that have made us the leaders in exploration,” said Mark N. Sirangelo, corporate vice president and head of SNC’s Space Systems. “As importantly, we can reach out to the young people of the region who will take us to the future and get them to experience in person the passion of our nation’s space program so that they might be inspired as we were. With the unique combination of NASA, the local aerospace industry, many of whom are already partnered on our program and academic institutions such as Rice University, combined with the potential of a future spaceport, Houston’s future in space commerce is a go.”
“Houston has unique advantages over other emerging spaceport locations with significant access to an existing, robust aerospace community,” said City of Houston Aviation Director Mario C. Diaz. “This letter of intent will allow us to effectively assess and define the new markets and applications that could emerge from having a Houston-based portal to space, which in turn will drive enterprise, economic growth and prosperity in this area.”
SNC is working with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to develop a safe, innovative, modern, flexible and highly-capable crew transportation system for the 21st century. Dream Chaser provides the only reusable, human-rated lifting-body spacecraft with a commercial runway landing capability, anywhere in the world, and is on the forefront of the commercial human spaceflight industry, offering safe, reliable and cost-effective crew and critical cargo transportation to low-Earth orbit. Dream Chaser is a multi-mission capable spacecraft which has the ability to work as an independent science platform, or as a logistics vehicle to retrieve, move, assemble or deploy items in space.
About Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems
Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems business area based in Louisville, Colo., 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 www.sncspace.com and follow us on Facebook at Sierra Nevada Corporation Space Systems.
About Sierra Nevada Corporation
Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), headquartered in Sparks, Nev., is one of America’s fastest growing private companies based on its significant expansion and reputation for rapid, innovative, and agile technology solutions in electronics, aerospace, avionics, space, propulsion, micro-satellite, aircraft, communications systems and solar energy. Under the leadership of CEO Fatih Ozmen and President Eren Ozmen, SNC has a workforce of over 3,000 personnel in 30 locations in 16 states. SNC’s six unique business areas are dedicated to providing leading-edge solutions to SNC’s dynamic customer base.
SNC is also the Top Woman-Owned Federal Contractor in the United States. Over the last 30 years under the Ozmen’s leadership, SNC has remained focused on providing its customers the very best in diversified technologies to meet their needs and has a strong and proven track record of success. The company continues to focus its growth also on the commercial sector through internal advancements in dual-use applications and outside acquisitions, including the emerging markets of renewable energy, telemedicine, nanotechnology, cyber and net-centric operations. For more information on SNC visit www.sncorp.com and follow us on Facebook at Sierra Nevada Corporation.
About Houston Airport System:
The Houston Airport System 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 approximately 170 airports located around the world. Handling more than 50 million passengers on an annual basis, HAS stands as one of the busiest airport systems operating anywhere in the world and connect the City of Houston on a global scale.
Ellington Airport, 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 ninth licensed spaceport in the United States.