Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) and Lockheed Martin announced today that they will work together on the Dream Chaser spacecraft SNC is building. SNC is one of three companies receiving funding from NASA under the commercial crew program.
Dream Chaser looks like the space shuttle without the cargo bay. SNC Vice President for Space Exploration Systems Jim Voss, a former astronaut who flew on both the space shuttle and Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft, commented at today’s press conference that in terms of crew space, the volume per person is the same as on the shuttle and “far, far bigger” than the Soyuz spacecraft now being used to takes crews back and forth to the International Space Station. Dream Chaser will be able to accommodate seven crew members. The space shuttle could accomodate as many as eight, though seven was a typical crew complement. Soyuz can carry three people. Dream Chaser can operate autonomously, so its volume can be filled with cargo, crew, or a combination.
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Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) today announced they had selected Lockheed Martin Space Systems as a partner on its Dream Chaser program in its ongoing effort for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
Lockheed Martin was competitively selected and will be the exclusive partner to SNC on its NASA Certification Products Contract (CPC).
Lockheed will build the composite structure for the Dream Chaser at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. SNC was awarded $10 million for CPC Phase 1 to work with NASA towards government certification of the SNC Dream Chaser orbital crew transportation system.
SNC would not reveal exactly how much of the contract would go to Lockheed other than saying it was a multi-million dollar contract.
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The New Mexico Senate approved a measure that extends liability protections to spacecraft manufacturers and equipment suppliers by a 34-0 vote earlier today. The measure, which is supported by Gov. Susana Martinez, now goes to the House, where it is expected to pass.
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Mark Butler, senior program manager with Virgin Galactic, answers questions about his company’s committment to New Mexico, whose taxpayers have put up $209 million to construct Spaceport America, the site where Virgin Galactic intends to lauch suborbital flights. Interview by Rob Nikolewski, New Mexico Watchdog, 1/29/13
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An executive with Virgin Galactic told New Mexico Watchdog that his company is “committed to New Mexico” and says that while it’s true that Virgin Galactic will pay its first rental payment to Spaceport America under protest, the practice is “fairly common place in construction” and there is “absolutely no cause for alarm.”
See on newmexico.watchdog.org
Travel to the stratosphere, and possibly beyond, is closer than you think in an otherwise unremarkable spot outside Las Cruces, New Mexico. That’s where Spaceport America is digging in – and building out – in an all in effort to launch commercial flights into space.
The tick tock is loud and clear toward a 2014 launch date when Virgin Galactic is set to send its first six-passenger space travel initiative into a suborbital wonderland of light and dark where the curve of the earth illuminates the vast nothingness of the great beyond.
While the prospects for space tourism are not new – indeed you can count nearly a half dozen aerospace companies flirting with some element of space travel for the “common man”– what is new is what is destined to be ground zero for managing this new form of travel and tourism: and that would be Spaceport America.
Sierra Nevada has enlisted Lockheed Martin to build the airframe for its second Dream Chaser winged orbital vehicle and to participate in its certification process with NASA.
“For so many years Lockheed Martin has meant so much to the aerospace industry,” says Sierra Nevada vice president Mark Sirangelo. “We’ve been so impressed by that work and the history and work behind that. Over the last several months [Lockheed vice president] Jim Crocker and I have been working together to say, how can we really leverage that development?”
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