December 12, 2016 – Celebrating owner and CEO Fatih Ozmen’s 35 years with the company, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) marked the milestone by announcing Friday an investment of $1.5 million in a planned aerospace gallery at Wings Over the Rockies’ expansion site at Centennial Airport. The new Exploration of Flight center will honor Ozmen in a 12,000 square-foot wing to be called the Ozmen Black Sky Space Gallery.
Actor/pilot Harrison Ford made the surprise announcement to more than 1,000 SNC employees and guests at SNC’s year-end event in Denver. His personal video message was introduced by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. Ford and Gov. Hickenlooper are Honorary Co-Chairs of the Museum’s $25 million Wingspan Capital Campaign for Exploration of Flight (video below).
“From the beginning, Colorado has been critical to SNC’s growth as one of the world’s top 10 most innovative companies in space,” said Eren Ozmen, SNC owner and President. “I credit Fatih’s extraordinary vision for this growth, and what better way to celebrate and pay it forward than to help build an opportunity for young people to learn about aerospace and be inspired to chase their dreams too.”
Harrison Ford and Gov. Hickenlooper praised SNC’s strong presence in Colorado, which is home to major SNC operations including its Dream Chaser program. Earlier this year SNC earned a significant contract to use its winged, miniature space shuttle, the Dream Chaser, to service the International Space Station starting in 2019. Ford and Gov. Hickenlooper lauded SNC’s Dream Chaser space vehicle as a symbol of Colorado’s leadership in space and Wings Over the Rockies’ mission to “educate and inspire through flight.”
Harrison Ford noted that trips to the Ozmen Black Sky Space Gallery would be a learning experience unlike any other: “Countless young people will get to explore the reaches of their imaginations—and discover the difference their dreams can make in transforming not only their own lives, but the world itself.”
“SNC and its Dream Chaser are helping to shape the future of space,” said Gov. Hickenlooper, “and now the Ozmen Black Sky Space Gallery will inspire a new generation to follow in the contrails of people like Fatih and Eren Ozmen.”
Wings Over the Rockies is Colorado’s Official Air and Space Museum. Exploration of Flight at Centennial Airport will be a flight-based aerospace education and technology campus complementing Wings’ current site in the Lowry community. The Boeing Blue Sky Aviation Gallery and Ozmen Black Sky Space Gallery are designed to develop future aviators and aerospace professionals through growing educational outreach initiatives and a future aerospace charter school. Approximately halfway to the campaign goal of $25 million, a temporary Wings Flight Annex will give way to gallery construction in 2017-19, depending on fundraising.
“Every year, Wings inspires and educates thousands of young people,” said Wings Board Chair Charlie Johnson, “and this partnership with the Ozmens and SNC will help them truly reach for the stars.”