Sierra Nevada Corp. plans to launch an independent commercial company from its space business area to capitalize on potential opportunities presented by the opening of low Earth orbit to commercial space efforts, CNBC reported Wednesday.
Sierra Space will be an SNC subsidiary and will focus on developing commercial space station and reusable vehicle capable of transporting people and supplies to space, according to an internal email from SNC Chairwoman and President Eren Ozmen announcing SNC’s plan.
“We envision a vibrant low-Earth orbit economy with fleets of Dream Chaser spaceplanes, a commercial space station, expandable LIFE habitats that can travel to the moon and Mars, and critical infrastructure like power generation, propulsion and environmental systems,” said Ozmen.
NASA has selected the Dream Chaser space plane to support six International Space Station-bound flights for cargo resupply missions. Flights are scheduled from late 2022 through 2024.
Meanwhile, SNC looks to test the prototype for its space station at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It includes inflatable LIFE habitats and is expected to join NASA’s funding program that aims to deploy free-flying stations in low Earth orbit.
The Sparks, Nevada-based defense and national security contractor’s space business has $3 billion in active contracts.
The space industry has been experiencing an increase in investments as more companies offer launch services and plan for space tourism. A six percent NASA budget increase was also proposed by the Biden administration for fiscal 2020.