LOUSVILLE, Colo. (CBS4) – Colorado is becoming a major player in the space industry and NASA just awarded a local company millions of dollars to build space products.

The future of space exploration is being developed in Colorado. NASA has just awarded more than $212 million to Sierra Nevada Space Systems, a Louisville-based space product development company.

“We build satellites, we build rocket motors for people, we build a lot of the moving parts that go on spacecrafts,” Mark Sirangelo with Sierra Nevada Space Systems said.

One of the spacecrafts the company builds is the Dream Chaser. Its goal is to be used to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station. A recent assisted test flight was conducted just over Boulder.

“We are now taking the vehicle and moving it to the next level, which will be an autonomous flight which will happen later this year,” Sirangelo said.

The grant is good for more than just local advancement in space exploration with Sierra Nevada. Sirangleo believes it means a lot in terms of employment.

“We think that this is a way to bring back jobs into the United States. Currently the Russians are producing the rockets and the spacecraft necessary. This is going to going to bring back those jobs to Colorado and specifically other states.”

Up next is an official orbital test that will likely take place in Florida. That’s scheduled for 2016.

Sierra Nevada Space Systems built parts of the Curiosity rover that recently landed on Mars.


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