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Sierra Nevada Corporation

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Title: Sierra Nevada Corporation  
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Subject: Commercial Crew Development, Maxie McFarland, Commercial Spaceflight Federation, Comparison of satellite buses, SpaceX
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Sierra Nevada Corporation

Sierra Nevada Corporation
Type Private
Industry Aerospace
Headquarters Sparks, Nevada
Key people Eren Ozmen, President and CFO; Fatih Ozmen, CEO
Products Spacecraft
Renewable Energy
Navigation and Guidance
Information Management
Electronic Protection
Cyber Security
Employees 3000+

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is an American privately held electronic systems provider and systems integrator specializing in microsatellites, energy, telemedicine, nanotechnology, and commercial orbital transportation services. Sierra Nevada Corporation operates under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer, Fatih Ozmen and President, Eren Ozmen. The company contracts with the US military, NASA and private spaceflight companies. It is headquartered in Sparks, Nevada.[1]

SNC employs over 3000 people.[2] SNC has six different business areas, and 31 locations in 17 states along with numerous customer support sites located throughout the world.[3]


Sierra Nevada Corporation's Corporation Corporate Office in Sparks Nevada

The company was founded in 1963 by John Chisolm. It started as a small business with a few employees, working out of an airplane hangar in Stead, Nevada. Later it was owned and operated by Chisolm's daughter Michelle Bergfield (Chisolm), and later acquired in 1994 by husband and wife Fatih Ozmen and Eren Ozmen. Fatih Ozmen was one of the original employees hired by Chisolm in 1981.[4] Sierra Nevada Corporation is now a privately held company under the leadership and sole ownership of Chief Executive Officer, Fatih Ozmen and President, Eren Ozmen.[1] The Ozmens are Turkish but live in the United States.[1]

Key Capabilities, Products & Contracts

Light Air Support

On February 27, 2013, the Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano offered by Sierra Nevada Corporation and its partner Embraer, won a bid for a U.S. Air Force Light Air Support contract to provide reconnaissance and training capabilities to the Afghanistan military.[5] On September 25, 2014, SNC announced the delivery of the first A-29 Super Tucano aircraft to the United States Air Force. The delivery marks the start of filling the Light Air Support (LAS) program contract for the Pentagon to supply Afghanistan’s military with 20 planes, which should ensure air superiority in the country after the majority of US forces leave.[6]

Persistent Wide-Area Airborne Surveillance

MQ-9 Reaper at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. with the 53rd Wing. These sensors pods have been in development since 2009 by the Air Force’s Big Safari group and Sierra Nevada Corp.[7]

Transport Telemedicine System

SNC's Transport Telemedicine System is a new capability that captures and communicates patient care and condition information beginning at the point of injury and continuing until arrival at a medical facility. On September 24, 2014 at the inaugural Nevada Telemedicine Summit, SNC successfully demonstrated the capability for the U.S. Army Medical Material Agency. The Nevada Army National Guard MEDEVAC unit flew the demonstration mission.[7]

Multi-Mission Aircraft

On July 23, 2014, SNC announced its ISR business area won a contract from the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control to provide and operate two Multi-Mission Aircraft (MMA) for the State of Colorado, Department of Public Safety, Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC).[8]

SNC's Space Systems (Previously SpaceDev)

On December 16, 2008 SNC announced it had completed its acquisition of SpaceDev.[9] SNC is now developing an orbital spacecraft called the Dream Chaser.[2]

Dream Chaser Manned Spacecraft

On February 1, 2010, Sierra Nevada Corporation was awarded[10] $20 million in seed money in phase 1 of NASA’s Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program for the development of the Dream Chaser. Of the $50 million awarded in the phase 1 CCDev program, Dream Chaser's award represents the largest share of the funds.[11]

On August 3, 2012, NASA announced new agreements with the Sierra Nevada Corporation and two other companies to design and develop the next generation of U.S. human spaceflight capabilities, enabling a launch of astronauts from U.S. soil in the next five years. Advances made by these companies under newly signed Space Act Agreements through the agency's Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) initiative are intended to ultimately lead to the availability of commercial human spaceflight services for government and commercial customers. As part of this agreement, Sierra Nevada Corporation was awarded $212.5 million, ostensibly to continue development and testing of its Dream Chaser spacecraft.[12] The Dream Chaser is a revival of NASA's HL-20 Personnel Launch System lifting-body design.[13]

On July 24, 2014, Sierra Nevada Corporation signed a letter of cooperation with Tuskegee University to collaborate on efforts related to SNC’s Dream Chaser.[14]

On August 1, 2014, Lockheed Martin and Sierra Nevada Corporation unveiled the composite airframe of the Dream Chaser which will be used to conduct the first orbital launch in 2016.[15]

The Dream Chaser program team is frequently referred to as the “Dream Team.” The team includes well-known aerospace industry partners such as Lockheed Martin and United Launch Alliance, NASA centers and universities across the United States, small businesses such as Craig Technologies, as well as the European, German and Japanese.[16]

On September 16, 2014, Sierra Nevada Corporation lost the CCtCap contract to SpaceX and Boeing, which were chosen by NASA as the two companies that will be funded to develop systems to transport U.S. crews to and from the space station. Boeing won $4.2B and SpaceX won $2.6B to complete and certify their spacecraft by 2017.[17] NASA deemed SNC's proposal as less mature than the others.[18]

Two weeks after losing the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) competition to SpaceX and Boeing on September 16, 2014,[17] Sierra Nevada Corporation announced it has designed a launch system that combines a scale version of the company’s Dream Chaser space plane with the Stratolaunch Systems air launch system.[19] Earlier the same week, Sierra Nevada introduced new spaceflight opportunities to the world - coined the Dream Chaser Global Project”- which would provide customized access to low Earth orbit to global customers.[20]

On November 5, 2014 during the Space Traffic Management Conference at Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University, SNC's Space Systems team presented the challenges and opportunities related to landing the Dream Chaser spacecraft at public-use airports.[21] According to the presentation, "Unlike the Space Shuttle, the Dream Chaser does not require any unique landing aids or specialized equipment as it uses all non-toxic propellants and industry standard subsystems."[22]


SNC is the prime contractor on RocketMotorTwo for Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, and is designing the rocket engine for Scaled Composites.[23] On April 29, 2013 SpaceShipTwo completed its first powered flight test using RocketMotorTwo.[24]

After losing the bid for NASA commercial crew, Sierra Nevada reduced staff working on RocketMotorTwo in September 2014. In late November, SNC announced the permanent closure of their Poway, California propulsion development facility as they intend to consolidate all propulsion activity in one location, at the facilities of Orbital Technologies Corp., an acquisition of SNC earlier in 2014.[25]

Spacecraft Systems

As announced on Tuesday, October 14, 2014, the United States Department of Defense awarded Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems with a contract to develop and build a next-generation science and technology demonstration satellite, known as STPSat-5, for their Space Test Program.[26]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "About Sierra Nevada Corporation". 
  2. ^ a b Mark Sirangelo (2009-10-27). International Astronautical Congress 2009: Civilian Access to Space (video).  , video comments at 11:30 ff.
  3. ^ Company at a glance
  4. ^ "Fatih Ozmen, Sierra Nevada Corporation". SNC. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ SNC, Embraer Deliver First A-29 to US Air Force, by Aaron Mehta, posted Thursday Sept 25, 2014 14:32:00 EST
  7. ^ a b Air Force stands by Gorgon Stare , by Ben Iannotta - C4ISR Journal Writer, posted Tuesday Jan 25, 2011 14:15:59 EST
  8. ^ Sierra Nevada to build two multi-mission aircraft for Colorado, by, posted July 25, 2014
  9. ^ "Sierra Nevada Corporation Acquires Space Dev Inc". SNC. December 16, 2008. 
  10. ^ "SNC receives largest award of NASA's CCDev Competitive Contract". SNC. February 1, 2010. 
  11. ^ Commercial Certification Process and Accomplishments, NASA, November 15, 2012, retrieved August 11, 2013 
  12. ^ NASA Announces Next Steps In Effort To Launch Americans From U.S. Soil
  13. ^
  14. ^ Tuskegee University Joins Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser , by PRWeb, posted Tuesday Jul 24, 2014
  15. ^ Colorado's Sierra Nevada Corporation is one step closer to 2016 launch of Dream Chaser spacecraft, by ABC 7 News Denver, posted Friday Aug 1, 2014
  16. ^ Sierra Nevada Keeps Expanding Dream Chaser Team, by Parabolic Arc, Doug Messier, posted Wednesday Aug 6, 2014
  17. ^ a b "NASA Chooses American Companies to Transport U.S. Astronauts to International Space Station". NASA. September 16, 2014. Retrieved September 18, 2014. 
  18. ^ Norris, Guy. "Why NASA Rejected Sierra Nevada's Commercial Crew Vehicle" Aviation Week & Space Technology, 11 October 2014. Accessed: 13 October 2014. Archived on 13 October 2014
  19. ^ "Sierra Nevada and Stratolaunch Team Up on Dream Chaser Space Plane". NBC News. October 1, 2014. Retrieved October 1, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Sierra Nevada Corporation Introduces Dream Chaser Global Project Spaceflight Program Sept. 30". SpaceRef. September 29, 2014. Retrieved September 29, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Sierra Nevada Corporation to Present Progress on Evaluating Dream Chaser Landing at Public Use Airports". WFXS FOX55 WAUSAU. November 5, 2014. Retrieved November 1, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Challenges and Opportunities Related to Landing the Dream Chaser® Commercial Reusable Space Vehicle at a Public-Use Airport". ERAU Scholarly Commons. November 5, 2014. Retrieved November 1, 2014. 
  23. ^, "Virgin Galactic Pushes Private Spaceship Envelope in Test Flights", Leonard David, 10 June 2011
  24. ^
  25. ^ Foust, Jeff (2014-11-26). "Sierra Nevada To Close California Propulsion Facility". Space News. Retrieved 2014-12-01. 
  26. ^ "US DoD awards STPSat-5 satellite production contract to Sierra Nevada". October 16, 2014. Retrieved October 16, 2014. 

External links

  • Sierra Nevada Corporation website
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