Sierra Nevada Corporation to Acquire Orbital Technologies Corporation

Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser spacecraft. Image Source: NASA

Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser spacecraft. Image Source: NASA

Sparks, Nevada. June 19, 2014 – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announced today that it has signed a definitive purchase agreement to acquire the Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC) as a wholly-owned subsidiary of SNC. The acquisition will integrate all of ORBITEC’s technologies into SNC’s Space Systems, based in Louisville, Colorado, and enhance SNC’s commitment to human spaceflight systems.

SNC has been working with Wisconsin-based ORBITEC for over three years. ORBITEC is the lead for the Environmental Control and Life Support Systems and Thermal Control Systems for SNC, providing reliable living conditions including temperature and humidity control to support the astronauts during their journeys on SNC’s Dream Chaser spacecraft.

“SNC has a relationship with ORBITEC that has proven to be extremely collaborative with our endeavors under the NASA Commercial Crew Transportation Capability Contract agreement and on the Dream Chaser program,” said SNC President Eren Ozmen. “Their team’s commitment to the safety and quality of human life in space to reliably expand mankind’s exploration of space is in perfect alignment with SNC’s Space Systems mission and our quest to return human space travel to America.”

Recently, SNC selected ORBITEC to provide the RCS engines for Dream Chaser using green, nontoxic propellants. The flexibility of fuel and oxidizer options along with the ability to quickly scale engine size makes ORBITEC’s Vortex technology the growing industry preferred choice for Reaction Control Systems (RCS), Upper Stage engines and potentially boost class engines.

“ORBITEC’s impressive performance as our partner on the Dream Chaser program for ECLSS demonstrates their strong capability to deliver human spaceflight qualified hardware,” said Mark N. Sirangelo, corporate vice president of SNC’s Space Systems. “The addition of ORBITEC’s high performance Vortex liquid rocket engines to SNC’s flight-proven hybrid rocket motor products allows SNC to provide a complete range of propulsion solutions for our customers.”

ORBITEC’s technologies and products also include “green” propellants for next generation spacecraft, advanced plant systems that can ultimately integrate future life support systems, and other science packages and capabilities for spaceflight.

Notably, ORBITEC developed the VEGGIE system that was launched in May to the International Space Station. Colorado astronaut Steve Swanson harvested the first crop of lettuce from the Veggie experiment last week. The growth of edible plants in space is paving the path for future life support systems that engage biological systems to help recycle water, regenerate breathable air, and augment the food supply for long duration space habitation in and far beyond low Earth orbit.

Commander Steve Swanson shows off a red romaine lettuce plant he harvested from the Veggie facility aboard the International Space Station. Image Source: NASA TV

Commander Steve Swanson shows off a red romaine lettuce plant he harvested from the Veggie facility aboard the International Space Station. Image Source: NASA TV

“Merging with SNC integrates compatible cultures for rapid and efficient deployment of space technologies and products, and enables ORBITEC to accelerate commercialization of its high performance and cost effective products to market,” said Tom Crabb, president of Orbitec.

Crabb will continue to lead the operations in Madison, Wisconsin, where ORBITEC is also revolutionizing terrestrial fire suppression systems, with their Ultra High Pressure Fire Suppression systems that can extinguish fire in one third the time with half the water of traditional fire suppression systems.