COCOA BEACH, Fla — Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announced today interest in developing the company’s Dream Chaser space plane in Florida. The NewSpace firm, along with State of Florida elected officials and other officials announced that the company is eyeing Florida as a potential site for operations – provided enough incentives are made available. The announcement was made at the Cocoa Beach Hilton. The conference began at 12:30 p.m. EDT and had numerous dignitaries in attendance.
Politicians including Florida’s Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll, Florida Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) along with representatives from both Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Congressman Bill Posey’s office were at the event. It was a former astronaut however that brought the largest round of applause.
Astronaut Director Flight Operations Space Exploration Systems for SNC Steve Lindsey addressed those in attendance and during his remarks work to redress a loss that has affected many along Florida’s Space Coast.
“Stay tuned,” Lindsey said. “…we are going to bring a sonic boom back to your coast.”
With the end of the shuttle era, the U.S. human space flight spacecraft is reliant on Russia for access to orbit. At $63 million a seat on the Soyuz spacecraft, the current administration has placed the nation’s return on smaller, relatively new companies. The region has been reeling following the final shuttle mission with an unemployment rate around 10 percent (this number has trended as high as 15 percent) and with numerous companies and establishments going out of business. Seeing a reusable space plane launch and land – would be a welcome return to normalcy for the hard-hit area.
SNC is based out of Colorado and designs and manufactures both spacecraft – and space flight systems. NASA awarded the commercial space flight two funded Space Act Agreements as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Development Program (CCDev) in 2009 and again in 2011.
Representatives from the firm acknowledged Florida’s long space flight history as well as the fact that there is a well-established aerospace infrastructure in the area.
“Florida has always been at the forefront of America’s spaceflight program,” said SNC Corporate Vice President and head of SNC’s Space Systems, Mark Sirangelo. “We want to continue the Shuttle’s legacy, working in partnership with NASA, to fly innovative, next-generation vehicles like the Dream Chaser. The Space Coast has a highly-experienced space workforce and launch experience that will be invaluable to us. We are working with Space Florida to implement our plans and our presence on the Space Coast.”