Left Menu
Development News Edition

Sierra Nevada chooses ULA's Vulcan to launch space station supply runs

Reuters | Washington DC | Updated: 15-08-2019 00:03 IST | Created: 15-08-2019 00:00 IST
Sierra Nevada chooses ULA's Vulcan to launch space station supply runs
Representative Image Image Credit: ANI

Sierra Nevada Corp, a privately owned defense contractor with spaceflight ambitions, said on Wednesday it picked United Launch Alliance's Vulcan rocket to launch its Dream Chaser space plane on cargo missions to the International Space Station.

Sierra Nevada Corp (SNC) is one of three companies hired by NASA, the U.S. space agency, to re-supply the orbiting research laboratory under a $14 billion overall award that guarantees each company a minimum of six flights between 2019 and 2024. The other companies are Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp, known as SpaceX, and Northrop Grumman .

SNC's Dream Chaser, which resembles the long-retired Space Shuttle, is slated to blast off from Florida's Cape Canaveral in late 2021 aboard a Vulcan Centaur rocket being built by United Launch Alliance - a joint venture of Boeing Co and Lockheed Martin Corp. Dream Chaser will land like a conventional airplane at Florida's Kennedy Space Center, though Sierra Nevada says it is has been developed to land on conventional airport runways. The Dream Chaser will be capable of delivering 12,000 pounds of food, water, science experiments and other cargo to the space station, the company said.

In adding SNC as a contractor in 2016, NASA gave the Sparks, Nevada-based firm a major financial and public relations boost after NASA selected rival spacecraft by Boeing and SpaceX to carry astronauts between Earth and the space station. SNC, owned by Turkish immigrants and billionaires Eren Ozmen and her husband, Fatih, is part of a group of closely held companies aiming to steal market share from space industry incumbents. The company makes most of its money by modifying and integrating aviation equipment into existing aircraft and by selling drones and other technology, primarily to the U.S. Air Force.

SNC declined to disclose how much it was paying ULA for the launches. United Launch Alliance beat a rival bid from SpaceX, which put up its Falcon rocket, an industry source said. Rival billionaire Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin also had discussions with Sierra Nevada, the person added.

Representatives from SpaceX and Blue Origin did not immediately respond to requests for comment. An SNC spokeswoman declined to comment, but said the company used a "competitive procurement process." United Launch Alliance is working toward a first flight of its heavy-lift Vulcan in spring 2021, the same year Bezos aims to fly the New Glenn.

SNC argues that the Dream Chaser's ability to land on a traditional runway gives it an edge over rival solutions for delicate scientific research cargo. SpaceX's Dragon capsules currently splash down in the Pacific Ocean, while Northrop's Cygnus capsules burn up as they fall through the atmosphere, which gives NASA an opportunity to remove trash from the station.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Canada’s COVID-19 pitfalls highlight need for integrated health information system

In the globalized world of today where outbreaks can spread far and wide within a matter of days, a global-level integrated health information system is ideal but Canadas provincial barriers show that the country lags much behind in deployi...

Pandemic must be impetus, not obstacle, for clean water access

To make matters worse, there are suspicions that the inadequacy of wastewater treatment methods in California, the rest of the USA, and indeed around the world may help to propagate the disease even more widely. ...

3D printing and the future of manufacturing post COVID-19

The on-demand, customizable, and localized manufacturing of product components facilitated by 3D printing has the potential to redefine manufacturing but there are certain technical, mechanical, and legal limitations that, unless ...

How UK’s 'best prepared' healthcare system failed to gauge COVID-19

The UK is proud of their public health system and its unlike any other country as around 90 percent of British public supports the founding principles of National Health Service. But without accurate data being available to stakeholders in ...

Videos

Latest News

Games postponed in Scotland after breaches of virus rules

The Scottish soccer season was thrown into disarray on Tuesday after upcoming games involving Celtic and Aberdeen were postponed at the request of the countrys government following breaches of coronavirus rules by players. Soccer authoritie...

Richards to face Stripling in latest Padres-Dodgers tussle

It might be a shorter season, but the Los Angeles Dodgers continue to see they will have a long duel ahead with the San Diego Padres. The Dodgers will play host to the Padres for the second game of a four-game series on Tuesday night follow...

Mahindra among 14 global CEOs to endorse road map for building better economic system

Mahindra group on Tuesday said its Chairman Anand Mahindra is among a group of 14 global CEOs endorsing an economic road map that looks to build the economic system better rather than simply building it back from the COVID-19 crisis. The gl...

Centre forms committee for procurement, administration of COVID-19 vaccine

The Centre on Tuesday constituted a committee to consider the logistics, ethical aspects of procurement, and administration of COVID-19 vaccine. The committee titled National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration has been formed under the ...

Give Feedback