LOUISVILLE, Colo. – Mar. 20, 2024 – Sierra Space, a leading commercial space company and emerging defense tech prime building a platform in space to benefit and protect life on Earth, has achieved yet another milestone in space technology by providing the cutting-edge solar technology that powers Sidus Space’s first LizzieSat™ satellite, which successfully launched and deployed to Low Earth Orbit on March 4 as part of SpaceX’s Transporter-10 Rideshare mission.

Sierra Space provided a full shipset of eight deployable solar panels and one top plate to Sidus Space in an extraordinary feat of efficiency, delivering the hardware well ahead of schedule and completing the entire process from contract signing to hardware delivery in just 49 days.

The remarkable accomplishment underscores Sierra Space’s commitment to excellence and innovation in the commercial space industry. The solar panel shipset, tailored to LizzieSat’s unique specifications, included Sierra Space’s proprietary high-density cells mounted onto substrates meticulously crafted by Sierra Space engineers.

“Prior to shipment, rigorous testing ensured the functionality and readiness of the hardware for installation on LizzieSat,” said Rusty Thomas, Chief Technology Officer and SVP/GM of Space Applications at Sierra Space. “The successful collaboration between Sierra Space and Sidus Space exemplifies the spirit of innovation and partnership that drives our industry forward. We had a dedicated working group that swiftly addressed technical performance, cost, schedule and risk factors. This ensured a seamless process from order to delivery in just seven weeks.”

Sierra Space is utilizing high volume electronics manufacturing techniques for automated production of solar arrays using surface-mount-compatible solar cells. The arrays provide higher power density, reduced lead times and unparalleled resilience compared with conventional solar cell technologies. The company performed all tasks at its state-of-the-art facilities in Louisville, CO, and ensured the safe transport of the hardware to Sidus Space’s facility in Cape Canaveral, FL.

Sidus Space recently announced that it received signals from its satellite following the launch. The new satellite is positioned to revolutionize space-based data collection and analysis with its innovative Space Platform with a Purpose™ and FeatherEdge AI integration. The mission aims to broaden Sidus Space’s customer base across military and commercial sectors, offering tailored intelligence solutions for industries such as defense, agriculture, maritime and oil and gas.

About Sierra Space

Sierra Space is a leading commercial space company at the forefront of innovation and the commercialization of space in the Orbital Age®, building an end-to-end business and technology platform in space to benefit life on Earth. With more than 30 years and 500 missions of space flight heritage, the company is reinventing both space transportation with Dream Chaser®, the world’s only commercial spaceplane, and the future of space destinations with the company’s inflatable and expandable space station technology. Using commercial business models, the company is also delivering orbital services to commercial, DoD and national security organizations, expanding production capacity to meet the needs of constellation programs. In addition, Sierra Space builds a host of systems and subsystems across solar power, mechanics and motion control, environmental control, life support, propulsion and thermal control, offering myriad space-as-a-service solutions for the new space economy.

Sierra Space

LOUISVILLE, Colo. – Mar. 12, 2024 – Sierra Space, a leading commercial space company and emerging defense tech prime building a platform in space to benefit and protect life on Earth, announced today the launch of Sierra Space Axelerator™, an innovation-at-speed incubator designed to fast-track the development of revolutionary defense technologies and mission solutions. Axelerator is set to redefine industry standards by delivering cutting-edge products with unprecedented efficiency.

Introducing Sierra Space Ghost: The Future of Space Retrieval

The first marvel to emerge from Axelerator is Sierra Space Ghost, a state-of-the-art space delivery system engineered to safely return objects from space – and through space – directly to precise locations on Earth. Ghost, a low beta reentry vehicle utilizing revolutionary deployable decelerator technology, represents a significant leap forward in space logistics and recovery operations, promising to enhance the sustainability and safety of space. Ghost will be able to deliver payloads anywhere in the world in 90 minutes or less, enabling a highly responsive space-based system without the need for a fixed infrastructure. Remarkably, Ghost transitioned from development to flight testing in just 90 days, showcasing Axelerator’s rapid prototyping and development capabilities.

Introducing Sierra Space Spectre: Revolutionizing Rendezvous and Proximity Operations

Sierra Space is also unveiling Spectre, a revolutionary satellite designed for precision rendezvous and proximity operations (RPO). Sierra Space Spectre embodies the pinnacle of innovation, equipped to perform complex tasks in the challenging environment of space with unmatched accuracy and flexibility. Scheduled for launch in late 2025, Spectre is poised to set new benchmarks for satellite technology.

Introducing Sierra Black OS: A New Era of AI-Enabled Operating Systems

The third breakthrough announced today from Sierra Space’s Axelerator incubator is Sierra Black OS, an advanced AI-enabled operating system that will have the ability to operate across space, air and ground systems seamlessly. The inaugural release, STAR (Sierra Toolkit for Autonomous Rendezvous), an RPO software module, exemplifies the system’s capabilities, offering unparalleled operational intelligence and autonomy for space missions. Sierra Black OS and STAR are set to revolutionize how space operations are conducted.

“With Axelerator, Sierra Space is not just imagining the future. We are actively building it,” said Sierra Space CEO Tom Vice. “Our new products – Ghost, Spectre and Sierra Black OS – are a testament to our commitment to pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and driving innovation at the speed of thought. We are proud to contribute to the defense sector with technologies that will shape the future for decades to come.”

The Axelerator incubator is part of Sierra Space’s Orbital Missions and Services group, founded in 2023 to focus on revolutionary new national security solutions. Since standing up the organization, Sierra Space has been awarded $1.3 billion in prime satellite constellations contracts. In January 2024, the company was awarded a $740 million prime contract by the Space Development Agency for 18 Tranche 2 satellites to accelerate the capabilities to provide global, persistent indications, detection, warning and tracking of conventional and advanced missile threats, including hypersonic missile systems.

Sierra Space’s Orbital Missions and Services has started a new chapter in defense technology, one where innovation, speed, affordability and on-orbit schedule reliability converge to create overmatch capability. At a time when the adversaries of the United States and its allies are significantly increasing their hostile aggressions around the world, Sierra Space is dedicated to innovating at speed to accelerate affordable national security solutions.

About Sierra Space

Sierra Space is a leading commercial space company at the forefront of innovation and the commercialization of space in the Orbital Age®, building an end-to-end business and technology platform in space to benefit life on Earth. With more than 30 years and 500 missions of space flight heritage, the company is reinventing both space transportation with Dream Chaser®, the world’s only commercial spaceplane, and the future of space destinations with the company’s inflatable and expandable space station technology. Using commercial business models, the company is also delivering orbital services to commercial, DoD and national security organizations, expanding production capacity to meet the needs of constellation programs. In addition, Sierra Space builds a host of systems and subsystems across solar power, mechanics and motion control, environmental control, life support, propulsion and thermal control, offering myriad space-as-a-service solutions for the new space economy.

Source: Sierra Space

LOUISVILLE, Colo. – Jan. 22, 2024 – Sierra Space, a leading commercial space company building the first end-to-end business and technology platform in space, has achieved a groundbreaking milestone by successfully designing, manufacturing, assembling and testing its first full-scale, expandable space station structure, alongside exclusive softgoods technology partner ILC Dover.

By the Numbers:

  • Company’s first stress test of a full-size, inflatable space station structure
  • Test unit stood over 20’ tall and was comparable in size to an average family home
  • The article was 300 m³ in volume, or 1/3rd the volume of the Intl. Space Station
  • Test results exceeded NASA’s recommended x4 safety levels by 27%

The pressure shell for Sierra Space’s LIFE™ (Large Integrated Flexible Environment) habitat is made of expandable “softgoods,” or woven fabrics that perform like a rigid structure once inflated. During an Ultimate Burst Pressure (UBP) test, the teams inflate the test article until it fails, which helps determine how strong its softgoods materials would be under extreme stresses in the harsh environment of space. The full-scale unit in this test reached 77 psi before it burst, which well exceeds (+27%) NASA’s recommended level of 60.8 psi (maximum operating pressure of 15.2 psi multiplied by a safety factor of four).

The achievement underscores Sierra Space’s commitment to advancing the cutting-edge design and development of commercial space stations and positions the company well ahead of its global competitors. The company’s expandable technology provides for on-orbit infrastructure volume greater than 5x the fairing volume used to transport the system to orbit.

“We are driving the reinvention of the space station that will shape a new era of humanity’s exploration and discovery in Low Earth Orbit and beyond. Sierra Space’s inflatable space station technology offers the absolute largest in-space pressured volume, the best unit economics per on-orbit volume and lowest launch and total operating costs,” said Sierra Space CEO Tom Vice. “Having the best unit economics positions Sierra Space as the category leader in microgravity research and product development, providing customers with the most attractive return on their investment.”

Sierra Space’s LIFE is packed inside a standard five-meter rocket fairing and inflates to the size of a three-story apartment building on orbit. In just three launches, the modular LIFE units can create a living and working environment in space that is larger, volume-wise than the entire International Space Station (ISS). In coming years, the company will iterate on larger designs. A 1400-cubic-meter version, packaged inside a seven-meter rocket fairing, for example, would surpass the size of the ISS in a single launch.

Building upon this successful test, Sierra Space will embark on an aggressive 2024 testing campaign at both sub- and full-scale, including a series of UBP tests in tandem with early-stage development of the primary Atmospheric Barrier and Micrometeoroid Orbital Debris (MMOD) layers.

“Over the past two years, our team has worked tirelessly to reach this point. Working with our key suppliers and strategic partners, Sierra Space has guided our collaborative effort and reached new heights with this latest UBP test,” said Shawn Buckley, Senior Director of Engineering and Chief Technologist of EarthSpace Systems. “We have assembled the expertise and knowledge that is required to propel this amazing technology to the next steps – Low Earth Orbit and beyond.”

The test specifically focused on the LIFE habitat pressure shell – otherwise known as the restraint layer – which is comprised of Vectran straps along with a series of other high-strength fabric materials. Sierra Space, working with its exclusive softgoods technology partner ILC Dover, has specifically designed and tested Vectran straps at the component and sub-scale levels prior to this full-scale test. Vectran is stronger than steel when inflated on-orbit and provides high margins of safety under pressure.

“Our expertise in space softgoods and passion for innovation continue to position ILC Dover and Sierra Space as the leading co-developers of inflatable space habitats,” said Rob Reed, President of Space & Engineered Solutions at ILC Dover. “The successful full-scale burst test is an undeniable leap toward a new reality of how humans live and operate in space, and we are proud to celebrate this milestone as we work to expand humanity’s capabilities in Low Earth Orbit.”

This recent full-scale UBP test was performed with support from NASA via a Reimbursable Space Act Agreement in which NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center provides services to Sierra Space in support of its exploration and commercial Low Earth Orbit technology development and risk reduction activities. This test occurred in Huntsville, Ala., on Redstone Arsenal adjacent to the historic Saturn 1/1B test stand.

About Sierra Space

Sierra Space is a leading commercial space company at the forefront of innovation and the commercialization of space in the Orbital Age®, building an end-to-end business and technology platform in space to benefit life on Earth. With more than 30 years and 500 missions of space flight heritage, the company is reinventing both space transportation with Dream Chaser®, the world’s only commercial spaceplane, and the future of space destinations with the company’s inflatable and expandable space station technology. Highly scalable and flexible, this innovative “softgoods” technology will define a new generation of space stations. Sierra Space also builds and delivers a host of systems and subsystems across solar power, mechanics and motion control, environmental control, life support, propulsion and thermal control, offering myriad space-as-a-service solutions for the new space economy.

Source: Sierra Space

LOUISVILLE, Colo. – Jan. 16, 2024 – Sierra Space, a leading commercial space company building the first end-to-end business and technology platform in space, announced today that it has won a significant contract by the Space Development Agency (SDA) for 18 missile warning and tracking satellites.

The prime contract, valued at $740 million and awarded through an Other Transaction Authority (OTA), is for the design, production, delivery, operations and sustainment of 16 missile warning and tracking satellites and two satellites for missile defense and fire control. The contract includes two operational ground segments as well.

The satellites are for the portion of SDA’s proliferated space warfighting architecture known as Tranche 2 Tracking Layer, part of the Defense Department’s Low Earth Orbit constellation. Sierra Space’s solution will accelerate the capability to provide global, persistent indications, detection, warning, and tracking of conventional and advanced missile threats, including hypersonic missile systems. The company’s solution also delivers preliminary missile defense capability by incorporating fire control quality sensors into the constellation; it will generate fire control quality tracks that enable missile defense kill chains, a critical defense capability, to the warfighter.

“Under the $740 million SDA contract, Sierra Space will deliver an 18-satellite constellation for missile detection, and warning, with fire control quality tracks”, said Sierra Space CEO Tom Vice. “Given the strength of our experienced mission-driven team, disruptive innovative technologies, employment of differentiated commercial practices, significant investments in systems and infrastructure, and the ability to execute with reliable performance and on-time delivery of warfighting capabilities to orbit, we have secured approximately $1.3 billion in next generation space-based national security programs.”

“Missile warning and missile defense is critical to the safety and security of our nation and its people,” added Rusty Thomas, Chief Technology Officer and SVP/GM Space Applications at Sierra Space. “Past winners of prior tranches for the tracking layer mission have been traditional big primes. This award puts Sierra Space on the short list of companies that can deliver, as a prime, in missions critical to the warfighter.”

The tracking layer satellites carry two configurations of optical sensor payloads built by Sierra Space mission payload partner GEOST, a LightRidge Solutions company. GEOST develops and builds high performance, multi-orbit optical payloads that are affordable, low-weight and low-power, with integrated on-orbit processing and ground-based infrastructure.

This latest contract award makes Sierra Space the SDA’s newest supplier of satellites. The agreement includes a $20 million incentive payment for on-time delivery. The company will develop, integrate and test its space vehicles at Sierra Space’s satellite production facilities in Colorado.

About Sierra Space

Sierra Space is a leading commercial space company at the forefront of innovation and the commercialization of space in the Orbital Age®, building an end-to-end business and technology platform in space to benefit life on Earth. With more than 30 years and 500 missions of space flight heritage, the company is reinventing both space transportation with Dream Chaser®, the world’s only commercial spaceplane, and the future of space destinations with the company’s inflatable and expandable space station technology. Highly scalable and flexible, this innovative “softgoods” technology will define a new generation of space stations. Sierra Space also builds and delivers a host of systems and subsystems across solar power, mechanics and motion control, environmental control, life support, propulsion and thermal control, offering myriad space-as-a-service solutions for the new space economy.

Source: Sierra Space

LOUISVILLE, Colo. – Dec. 15, 2023 – Sierra Space, a leading commercial space company building the first end-to-end business and technology platform in space to benefit of life on Earth, has delivered the first Dream Chaser spaceplane, Tenacity, to NASA’s Neil Armstrong Test Facility in Sandusky, Ohio. Dream Chaser, the world’s only commercial spaceplane, has entered the final testing phase ahead of its first flight in 2024. The testing campaign will confirm the spacecraft’s resilience to the challenges of launch and the demanding conditions of space as it prepares for its inaugural mission to the International Space Station under a multi-mission NASA contract.

Dream Chaser joins Sierra Space’s cargo module, Shooting Star™, which arrived at the NASA test facility in November. The two vehicles are set to be stacked in launch configuration and undergo rigorous environmental testing starting in the Mechanical Vibration Facility. The test will subject them to the extreme conditions of launch vibrations on the world’s most powerful spacecraft shaker table. Sierra Space is unwavering in its commitment to ensuring the utmost reliability of its cutting-edge technologies. Dream Chaser, crafted in tandem with the groundbreaking Shooting Star cargo module, will reinvent space transportation and usher in the burgeoning era of space commercialization known as the Orbital Age®.

“At Sierra Space, we are ushering in the next industrial revolution with a business and technology platform that provides our customers with a complete turn-key solution offering space as a service,” said Sierra Space CEO Tom Vice. “Our platform includes Dream Chaser, a revolutionary, highly reusable commercial spaceplane with global runway access, and the first business-ready commercial space station, leveraging the most advanced expandable structural architecture that will exponentially decrease the cost of product development and manufacturing in space.”

Selected by a NASA contract:

Dream Chaser was selected by NASA for cargo delivery, return and disposal service for the International Space Station under the Commercial Resupply Services-2 (CRS-2) contract.

High reusability and flexibility:

Dream Chaser’s highly customizable design makes it ideal for a range of applications, providing fast turnaround times to support various LEO needs. The fleet will provide greater efficiencies with high reusability and mark the beginning of a new era of space commercialization. The multi-mission spaceplane fleet is designed to transport crew and cargo to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and can be customized for both domestic and international customers for global operations.

NASA’s Neil Armstrong Test Facility:

NASA’s Neil Armstrong Test Facility is part of NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. Located on 6,400 acres in Sandusky, Ohio, it is home to some of the world’s largest and most capable space simulation test facilities, where ground tests are conducted for the U.S. and international space and aeronautics communities.

About Sierra Space

Sierra Space is a leading commercial space company at the forefront of innovation and the commercialization of space in the Orbital Age®, building an end-to-end business and technology platform in space to benefit life on Earth. With more than 30 years and 500 missions of space flight heritage, the company is reinventing both space transportation with Dream Chaser®, the world’s only commercial spaceplane, and the future of space destinations with the company’s inflatable and expandable space station technology. Highly scalable and flexible, this innovative “softgoods” technology will define a new generation of space stations. Sierra Space also builds and delivers a host of systems and subsystems across solar power, mechanics and motion control, environmental control, life support, propulsion and thermal control, offering myriad space-as-a-service solutions for the new space economy.

Source: Sierra Space

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