Sierra Nevada Corporation and Lockheed Martin Unveil First Dream Chaser® Orbital Spacecraft Composite Structure

In a joint press conference, Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Space Systems and Dream Chaser® program partner, Lockheed Martin unveiled the Dream Chaser orbital spacecraft composite airframe.

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SNC's Dream Chaser® orbital structural airframe

SNC's Dream Chaser® orbital structural airframe at Lockheed Martin in Ft. Worth.

“As a valued strategic partner on SNC’s Dream Chaser Dream Team, Lockheed Martin is under contract to manufacture Dream Chaser orbital structure airframes,” said Sirangelo. “We competitively chose Lockheed Martin because they are a world leader..."

Sparks, Nev. (PRWEB) August 01, 2014

In a joint press conference, Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Space Systems and Dream Chaser® program partner, Lockheed Martin unveiled the Dream Chaser orbital spacecraft composite airframe. This structure will be used to conduct the first orbital launch of the Dream Chaser spacecraft due to launch in November, 2016, atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

“As a valued strategic partner on SNC’s Dream Chaser Dream Team, Lockheed Martin is under contract to manufacture Dream Chaser orbital structure airframes,” said Mark N. Sirangelo, corporate vice president of SNC’s Space Systems. “We competitively chose Lockheed Martin because they are a world leader in composite manufacturing, have the infrastructure, resources and quality control needed to support the needs of an orbital vehicle and have a proven track record of leading our nation’s top aviation and aerospace programs. Lockheed Martin’s diverse heritage coupled with their current work on the Orion program adds an extra element of depth and expertise to our program. SNC and Lockheed Martin continue to expand and develop a strong multi-faceted relationship.”

Earlier this year Lockheed Martin began fabrication of the Dream Chaser orbital spacecraft structure at the Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans, Louisiana. The MAF, which is owned and operated by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, has played a significant role in our nation’s space programs from Apollo to the space shuttle, and most recently, Orion spacecraft manufacturing. As each Dream Chaser structural component completes the fabrication and inspection process at MAF, it is transported to Lockheed Martin’s Aeronautics facility in Fort Worth, Texas for integration into the airframe and co-bonded assembly.

Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth facility manufactures and assembles the world’s top fighter aircraft, the F-35 Lighting II and the F-16 Fighting Falcon. Combined with technology mastered at Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works®, the Dream Chaser team is able to leverage their extensive experience in the areas of composites and advanced manufacturing to ensure the Dream Chaser orbital structure is fabricated, built and assembled using best practices. In addition, Lockheed Martin is applying advanced 3D preform technology for joint assembly thereby reducing overall part and tooling count while improving assembly and integration time. Through these improved processes, SNC and Lockheed Martin are able to improve the overall durability, weight efficiency and affordability of the spacecraft.

“Lockheed Martin’s depth of aviation and aerospace experience brings a wealth of expertise to the Dream Chaser composite structure development,” said Jim Crocker, vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Space Systems Company Civil Space Line of Business. “We are able to tailor our best manufacturing processes, and our innovative technology from across the corporation to fit the needs of the Dream Chaser program.”

In addition to the current Dream Chaser airframe manufacturing work, Lockheed Martin is also supporting SNC in the areas of vehicle assembly, integration, environmental testing, ground support equipment, flight certification and spacecraft launch and recovery. This work is performed at various Lockheed Martin facilities in Louisiana, Texas, Florida and Colorado.

Upon completion of manufacturing Lockheed Martin will transport the Dream Chaser airframe to SNC’s Louisville, Colorado, facility for final integration and assembly.

SNC is working with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program under an existing space act agreement to develop a safe, innovative, modern, flexible and highly-capable commercial space transportation system for the 21st Century. Once developed, Dream Chaser will provide 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 and from low-Earth orbit.

About Lockheed Martin Corporation
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 113,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2013 were $45.4 billion.

About Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems
Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems business area based in Louisville, Colorado, designs and manufactures advanced spacecraft, space vehicles, rocket motors and spacecraft subsystems and components for the U.S. Government, commercial customers as well as for the international market. SNC’s Space Systems has more than 25 years of space heritage and has participated in over 400 successful space missions through the delivery of over 4,000 systems, subsystems and components. During its history, SNC’s Space Systems has concluded over 70 programs for NASA and over 50 other clients. For more information about SNC’s Space Systems visit http://www.sncspace.com and follow us at Facebook.com/SNCSpaceSystems.

About Sierra Nevada Corporation
Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), headquartered in Sparks, Nevada, is one of America’s fastest growing private companies based on its significant expansion and reputation for rapid, innovative, and agile technology solutions in electronics, aerospace, avionics, space, propulsion, micro-satellite, aircraft, communications systems and solar energy. Under the leadership of CEO Fatih Ozmen and President Eren Ozmen, SNC has a workforce of over 3,000 personnel in 31 locations in 17 states. SNC’s six unique business areas are dedicated to providing leading-edge solutions to SNC’s dynamic customer base.

SNC is also the Top Woman-Owned Federal Contractor in the United States. Over the last 30 years under the Ozmen’s leadership, SNC has remained focused on providing its customers the very best in diversified technologies to meet their needs and has a strong and proven track record of success. The company continues to focus its growth also on the commercial sector through internal advancements in dual-use applications and outside acquisitions, including the emerging markets of renewable energy, telemedicine, nanotechnology, cyber and net-centric operations. For more information on SNC visit http://www.sncorp.com and follow us at Facebook/Sierra Nevada Corporation.


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