Sierra Nevada Corp. Expands Relationship with CU-Boulder

Philip DiStefano, Mark Sirangelo and Louis Stodieck at CU-Boulder. Image Source: Sierra Nevada Corp.

Philip DiStefano, Mark Sirangelo and Louis Stodieck at CU-Boulder. Image Source: Sierra Nevada Corp.

Sparks, Nevada. August 4, 2014 – Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Space Systems is pleased to announce it is expanding its relationship with the University of Colorado Boulder (CU-Boulder) through the signing of a letter of cooperation with CU-Boulder’s BioServe Space Technologies (BioServe). Through the cooperation, SNC and BioServe will jointly explore ways the Dream Chaser Space Utility Vehicle (SUV) can serve as an orbital platform for scientific experiments in microgravity and space life science research.

SNC and CU-Boulder have a long-standing relationship collaborating on various projects throughout the development of the Dream Chaser commercial space transportation vehicle. Currently, CU-Boulder is a Dream Chaser program – Dream Team – member. CU-Boulder has provided SNC with leading research and development support over the past several years, including defining the overall cockpit design of the Dream Chaser spacecraft.

SNC actively recruits top graduates, alumni and interns from CU-Boulder. Presently, SNC’s Space Systems employs over 55 alumni and close to a dozen interns. Additionally, SNC also supports various senior design projects and works closely with students and research faculty. Several SNC executives hold faculty positions at the university.

“Our longstanding partnership with Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems is a terrific example of a successful university-industry collaboration,” said CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano. “CU-Boulder’s BioServe Space Technologies has been flying hardware and experiments in space commercially for several decades, much of it with the help of our talented students, and we expect our new involvement with SNC’s Dream Chaser project to result in new discoveries, technologies and applications in the life sciences, including biomedicine.”

Recently, Colorado, through a defined set of objectives outlined by Gov. John Hickenlooper, has taken steps to grow the aerospace industry within the state. Today’s signing of this cooperative agreement between SNC and BioServe is a prime example of a positive public-private relationship directly supporting the goals of Gov. Hickenlooper.

The agreement will allow SNC and BioServe to collaborate on activities to advance commercial development of microgravity science by utilizing the Dream Chaser SUV as an orbital laboratory. BioServe will help optimize the hardware onboard the Dream Chaser to enable and enhance International Space Station (ISS) microgravity research, as well as assist SNC in evaluating the utilization of Dream Chaser as a free-flying microgravity science platform.

“SNC is committed to providing opportunities for collaboration with universities in our space efforts. We are excited about the opportunity this cooperation creates to leverage the hardware, knowledge and experience of both CU-Boulder and now BioServe,” said Mark N. Sirangelo, corporate vice president of SNC’s Space Systems. “CU-Boulder plans for expanding its aerospace and space efforts in the coming years will allow SNC to explore a wide range of educational, technological, scientific and business opportunities associated with the development of advanced Dream Chaser missions.”

BioServe’s research and hardware development center, located in CU-Boulder’s aerospace engineering sciences department, has conducted a wide variety of space life science research on the space shuttle, Mir space station and the International Space Station (ISS) since 1991. BioServe has developed and flown more than 70 payloads launched on NASA’s space shuttle, Russian Progress and Soyuz vehicles, the Orbital Sciences Cygnus, the JAXA HTV launch vehicles and, most recently, the SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule.

Dream Chaser is a multi-mission capable spacecraft; it provides the only reusable, human-rated lifting-body spacecraft with a commercial runway landing capability, anywhere in the world. The space system is on the forefront of the commercial human spaceflight industry, offering safe, reliable and cost-effective crew and critical cargo transportation to low-Earth orbit destinations, including the ISS.