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NASA Signs Commercial Space Agreement With Sierra Nevada

July 07, 2011

J.D. Harrington/Michael Braukus      
Headquarters, Washington      

Amber Philman 
Kennedy Space Center, Fla. 

Cassie Kloberdanz 
Sierra Nevada Space Systems, Sparks, Nev. 

RELEASE: 11-221


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida is 
entering into an agreement with Sierra Nevada Space Systems (SNSS) of 
Sparks, Nev., to offer technical capabilities from the center's 
uniquely skilled work force. 

The umbrella space act agreement is Kennedy's latest step in its 
transition from a historically government-only launch complex to a 
multi-user spaceport. Sierra Nevada also has space act agreements 
with NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston; NASA's Langley Research 
Center in Hampton, Va.; NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at 
Edwards, Calif.; and NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, 

"We're pleased that our partner Sierra Nevada is going to make use of 
the deep resources existing at the Kennedy Space Center to enhance 
its ongoing work," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "Sierra 
Nevada's agreements with Kennedy and other NASA centers demonstrate 
its commitment to using the full resources of NASA as the agency 
facilitates commercial cargo and crew capabilities to the 
International Space Station." 

Kennedy will help Sierra Nevada with the ground operations support of 
its lifting body reusable spacecraft called "Dream Chaser," which 
resembles a smaller version of the space shuttle orbiter. The 
spacecraft would carry as many as seven astronauts to the space 

Through the new agreement, Kennedy's work force will use its 
experience of processing the shuttle fleet for 30 years to help 
Sierra Nevada define and execute Dream Chaser's launch preparations 
and post-landing activities. 

"The partnership is an effort to bring new commercial space activities 
to the center and help transition Kennedy from a government, 
program-focused, single user launch complex to a diverse, multi-use 
spaceport, enabling both government and commercial space providers," 
said Kennedy Center Director Bob Cabana. 

In 2010 and 2011, Sierra Nevada was awarded grants as part of the 
initiative to stimulate the private sector in developing and 
demonstrating human spaceflight capabilities for NASA's Commercial 
Crew Program. The goal of the program, which is based at Kennedy, is 
to facilitate the development of a U.S. commercial crew space 
transportation capability by achieving safe, reliable and 
cost-effective access to and from the space station and future low 
Earth orbit destinations. 

"Our Dream Chaser vehicle was born at NASA, and NASA has continued to 
be an important partner in the vehicle's development," said Mark 
Sirangelo, head of SNSS. "By adding the Kennedy Space Center, with 
its highly experienced technical staff and world-class facilities, to 
the Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser Program we blend the best of both the 
NASA shuttle heritage alongside the best of industry practices." 

NASA also has space act agreements with other commercial partners 
under the agency's Commercial Crew Program. Pratt & Whitney 
Rocketdyne has agreements with NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in 
Huntsville, Ala., for development of the J-2X upper-stage engine; 
NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi for hardware assurance 
testing; and NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, for 
propulsion related technology development. Space Exploration 
Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) in Hawthorne, Calif., has agreements with 
Marshall for engineering development work, and Orbital Sciences Corp. 
in Dulles, Va., has agreements with Marshall and Stennis for AJ-26 
engine engineering support. 

For more information about Kennedy, visit: 


For information about NASA's commercial transportation programs, 



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