Sierra Nevada Corp. Signed Letter Of Intent To Work Together With Houston Airport System
In a joint news conference at the Rice University Space Institute, Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) and the Houston Airport System (HAS) announced plans to explore potential applications and multiple economic development opportunities presented by the combination of a Houston-based space port and SNC's Dream Chaser spacecraft.
SNC and HAS signed a letter of intent to work together to explore the possibilities associated with the proposed Houston Space Port including a wide range of educational, technological, scientific and business capacities. As part of the cooperative initiative, the organizations will study the physical, operational and regulatory requirements for SNC's commercial space vehicle, Dream Chaser, to utilize the space port as one of its potential landing sites. This effort will contribute to defining a long range strategy for the diversification and development of a vibrant commercial space industry in Texas, serving the needs of government, science, and commercial applications.
"Houston has been a cornerstone of America's space program and remains vital for its future. Dream Chaser's ability to land on a commercial runway such as Ellington offers, for the first time, a realistic path for America's space program to return and be seen locally by the thousands of people who make space happen every day in Houston and give tribute to the generations that have made us the leaders in exploration," said Mark N. Sirangelo, corporate vice president and head of SNC's Space Systems.
"Houston has unique advantages over other emerging spaceport locations with significant access to an existing, robust aerospace community," said City of Houston Aviation Director Mario Diaz. "This letter of intent will allow us to effectively assess and define the new markets and applications that could emerge from having a Houston-based portal to space, which in turn will drive enterprise, economic growth and prosperity in this area."
SNC is working with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to develop a safe, innovative, modern, flexible and highly-capable crew transportation system for the 21st Century. Dream Chaser provides the only reusable, human-rated lifting-body spacecraft with a commercial runway landing capability, anywhere in the world, and 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. Dream Chaser is a multi-mission capable spacecraft which has the ability to work as an independent science platform, or as a logistics vehicle to retrieve, move, assemble or deploy items in space.
(Image provided by Sierra Nevada Corp. Conceptualized image of SNC's Dream Chaser spacecraft landing on the runway at Houston's Ellington Field)