By Tori Mason

LOUISVILLE, Colo. (CBS4) – Two Colorado companies are coming together to help further space exploration. Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) selected United Launch Alliance (ULA) as the vehicle provider for its Dream Chaser spacecraft.

Over six missions, SNC’s Louisville-based Space Systems division and Centennial-based ULA will deliver critical supplies to the International Space Station.

(credit: CBS)

“We believe Colorado is really a headquarters for space. You can be proud to live in Colorado just knowing how much is going on in the space industry here,” said John Roth, VP of Business Development for SNC.

John Roth (credit: CBS)

SNC’s Dream Chaser is a reusable, multi-mission space utility vehicle. The Dream Chaser Cargo System was selected by NASA to provide cargo delivery to the International Space Station under the Commercial Resupply Services 2 contract. The spacecraft will carry 12,000 lbs. of cargo to the ISS, so it’ll need a powerful rocket to get it there.

“[Vulcan Centaur] is the launch vehicle ULA is providing. This is what allows us to get up to orbit,” explained Roth. Dream Chaser will launch aboard ULA’s Vulcan Centaur for its cargo resupply and return services to the space station.

(credit: SNC)

According to ULA, the company has flown 134 times and has never failed to take a mission to space.

“SNC selected ULA because of our strong collaboration on the Dream Chaser program, their proven safety record and on-time performance. This is bringing America’s spaceplane and America’s rocket together for best-of-breed innovation and exploration,” said SNC CEO Fatih Ozmen.

SNC and ULA will deliver critical supplies like food and water. The Dream Chaser will remain attached for up to 75 days as an orbiting laboratory, then return with new research.

(credit: CBS)

“{The Dream Chaser] comes back and returns on the runway like the space shuttle. We bring science that came off the ISS back to earth,” explained Roth. The Dream Chaser also disposes nearly 7,000 pounds of space station trash.

The six missions under NASA’s CRS2 program will launch from Cape Canaveral, but Vulcan’s mission control center is at ULA in Centennial. Forty miles north, Dream Chaser will be controlled from SNC in Louisville.

NASA has not issued the first mission task order, but SNC expects to begin their first mission in fall 2021.

Tori Mason

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