- Satellite Evolution
Sierra Space and Spaceport America sign agreement on landing site for Dream Chaser® Spaceplane
Sierra Space, a leading commercial space company at the forefront of creating and building the future of space transportation and infrastructure for low-Earth orbit (LEO) commercialization, and Spaceport America announced today the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The agreement adds the world-class New Mexico spaceport to Sierra Space’s portfolio of potential global landing sites for its Dream Chaser®, the world’s first and only winged commercial spaceplane.
Spaceport America, located in southern New Mexico, is the most recent addition to a growing list of compatible runways worldwide where the Dream Chaser could land, including the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and airports and landing sites in Huntsville, Alabama, Oita Airport, Japan, and Spaceport Cornwall in the United Kingdom.
Dream Chaser is a multi-mission space utility vehicle designed for transporting crew and cargo to and from LEO destinations, including the International Space Station (ISS). The spaceplane is currently under contract with NASA for seven commercial resupply missions to the ISS providing cargo delivery, return and waste disposal services. It is the only commercial spacecraft capable of low-g earth return to compatible commercial runways worldwide, allowing immediate access to high value payloads. Dream Chaser is set to launch in 2023.
“Sierra Space is building the future of space – from transportation, to commercial space destinations and all of the emerging applications – to develop a vibrant, growing and accessible commercial space economy,” said Sierra Space CEO, Tom Vice. “With that vision in mind, we are creating space-tech hubs within the commercial space ecosystem and adding Spaceport America as a prospective landing site for Dream Chaser to continue to open up affordable access to space for all.”
The new MOU outlines the two organizations’ mutual pursuit to increase Spaceport America’s capabilities and demand for Dream Chaser reentry at the spaceport. As a result, in line with their shared vision, both parties will pursue a Part 433 reentry site operator’s license for Spaceport America from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Dream Chaser is currently under contract to perform cargo supply and return missions for NASA starting in 2023, delivering up to 12,000 pounds of cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) at a time.
“Spaceport America is enormously proud to combine efforts with Sierra Space,” added Scott McLaughlin, Executive Director of Spaceport America. “As a potential landing site for the Dream Chaser spaceplane, we will continue to open affordable access to space for all in the United States and the world. We are excited to expand the partnership and working relationship with Sierra Space. This MOU also helps highlight the vision for Spaceport America and to help connect other users of both the spaceport and the Dream Chaser to New Mexico.”