In an attempt to continue to bridge the gap between space travel and astronauts, Sierra Nevada Corp.’s Space System of Louisville has announced a partnership with Lockheed Martin (News - Alert) to build a new spacecraft to shuttle astronauts out of this world.
The plan between the two companies is to build the Dream Chaser, which in accordance with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program would take astronauts to low Earth Orbit.
“We should go back and do whatever we can do to ensure Americans are flying to space on American spacecraft designed and built here,” said Mark Sirangelo, head of Sierra Nevada Space Systems, during a news conference at the company’s Colorado headquarters. “By bringing Lockheed on board, we think we’re going to get a tremendous boost from that.”
Sierra Nevada, manufacturer of high performance innovative component and systems, has been working in conjunction with NASA for years on the development of the Dream Chaser. Over the years, NASA has awarded hundreds of millions of dollars to Sierra Nevada for its research and design.
The Dream Chaser made its way out to California to conduct some test flights, although it went through a “captive carry” last year where some Coloradans were lucky enough to see it in flight. A captive carry is when an aircraft is carried by another flying aircraft.
According to a report in Florida Today, within the next two months, the aircraft is expected to be dropped from a height of 12,000 feet and hopefully land autonomously on a runway.
The plan is for the Dream Chaser to be up and running and ferrying astronauts to space by 2017, but expected budget cuts may possibly push that date back.
Edited by Ashley Caputo