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Dream Chaser Spacecraft Bankrolled for Development

Sierra Space Receives $1.4 Billion Series A Funding

Sierra has appeared to be an underdog in its efforts to secure past NASA contracts.

In 2014, it was passed over for a chance to fly personnel for the agency, and rebuffed upon appeal. After securing a contract to fly cargo and supplies to the ISS, things began looking up for a time. Now, 5 years on and $1 billion spent, the spacecraft still has not flown a mission. With delays in Boeing's commercial spacecraft, Sierra could exploit a gap in mission coverage by taking up cancelled or delayed operations. 

Sierra Space announced a successful Series A Funding round that is hoped to get the Dream Chaser off the ground with $1.4 billion in investments. With their accounts returned to health, the company says it could have astronauts flying aboard the spacecraft by 2025. The funding round was a break from tradition for the company, bringing in outside investors and additional scrutiny from outside the organization. The expansion may signal a broadened scope for the outfit as they try to build their name as a professional major player in the nascent commercial space industry. Taking on contractors like Boeing head-on is a daunting task, but the continued success of SpaceX, a relative newcomer in the aerospace industry, proves that a pedigree measure in decades isn't the bare minimum for entry into the new space race. 

Dream Chaser stands apart from the Crew Dragon and Starliner spacecraft, landing on a runway instead of dropping into sparse wilderness or splashing down into the ocean. A direct, speedy landing is an attractive offering to NASA and researchers, being theoretically faster to turn around for new missions, quicker to return equipment and data, and sooner to begin processing scientific results gleaned in space. Eren Ozmen, co-owner of the Sierra Nevada Corporation, majority owner of Sierra Space, said the company would double down. She said NASA is eager to acquire another winged space vehicle, after the Shuttle's retirement in 2011. "Being able to land on any commercial runway is a huge deal," said Ozman. "They really want us to bring the wings back, and to have the ability to bring the science to land softly on a runway." 

Sierra announced its part in a joint effort with Blue Origin, Boeing, Redwire Space, Genesis Engineering, and ASU to build the commercial space station replacement for the ISS, the Orbital Reef. 

FMI: www.sncorp.com/sierra-space


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