Tag Archives: Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC)

Orbital Outpost

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), the global aerospace and national security leader owned by Eren and Fatih Ozmen, was awarded a contract to repurpose SNC’s Shooting Star transport vehicle as a proposed commercial solution for an Unmanned Orbital Outpost – essentially a scalable, autonomous space station for experiments and logistics demonstrations – by the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU). SNC’s Shooting Star transport vehicle serves as the core structure for the proposed design.

Ozmens’ SNC Selected by the Department of Defense to Design, Develop Unmanned Orbital Outpost Prototype

The versatility of the Dream Chaser spaceplane and Shooting Star technologies and subsystems allow for greater flexibility and modularity both internally and externally for orbital outpost mission requirements. For DIU, this design leverages commercial programs and private investment at a fraction of the cost and schedule of building government-owned and operated systems. Repurposing space hardware reduces the time to achieve a minimal operating capability, orbital debris and the cost of launching dedicated buses to support subsequent mission requirements.

«We’re excited by the multi-mission nature of Shooting Star», said SNC CEO Fatih Ozmen. «It was originally developed for NASA resupply missions to the International Space Station, and since then we keep identifying new capabilities and solutions it offers to a wide variety of customers. The possible applications for Shooting Star are really endless».

Shooting Star is a 16-foot attachment to Dream Chaser developed for NASA Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) missions to provide extra storage for payloads and to facilitate cargo disposal upon re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. However, the transport vehicle’s unique design also offers free-flyer and satellite capabilities for large payloads with high-power capacity. It can also support logistics services to Low-Earth orbit (LEO) and cislunar destinations.

«The current Shooting Star is already designed with significant capabilities for an orbital outpost and by adding only a few components we are able to meet Department of Defense (DoD) needs», said former NASA space shuttle commander and retired USAF pilot Steve Lindsey, now senior vice president of strategy for SNC’s Space Systems business area. «We are proud to offer our transport vehicle to DoD as a free-flying destination for experimentation and testing, expanding beyond its current payload service capabilities for Dream Chaser cargo missions».

The proposed orbital outpost will be initially established in LEO with guidance, navigation and control for sustained free-flight operations to host payloads and support space assembly, microgravity, experimentation, logistics, manufacturing, training, test and evaluation. Future outposts may be based in a variety of orbits including, medium-Earth orbit, highly elliptical orbit, Geosynchronous Earth Orbits (GEO) to include GEO transfer orbits, and cislunar orbits.

VORTEX engine

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), the global aerospace and national security leader owned by Eren and Fatih Ozmen, reached a major milestone in the advancement of hypersonic propulsion with its patented VORTEX engine, advancing to the next phase of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Operational Fires (OpFires) program.

SNC Leverages VORTEX Engine Technology for DARPA’s OpFires Program

Through OpFires, SNC is extending its hybrid VORTEX engine capabilities to advanced, deep throttling, restartable propulsion systems. The system utilizes benign solid fuel with a liquid oxidizer, both of which are storable on Earth and in space. Recent testing shows positive results in being able to package significant energy into a small volume that will have the ability for deep throttling and smooth restart capabilities on command. «The VORTEX flows integrated into the hybrid significantly improves performance of the hybrid engine», said Doctor Marty Chiaverini, director of Propulsion Systems at SNC.

«This program opens up a new market for SNC for preplanned or on-demand propulsion control capabilities that are applicable to both military and beyond Earth orbit propulsion capabilities», said Tom Crabb, vice president of SNC’s Propulsion & Environmental Systems business unit. «Deep throttling and restart capabilities expand the tools for smart and unpredictable trajectories for various vehicles and systems».

The first two phases of DARPA’s OpFires program focus on the propulsion technologies required to deliver diverse payloads to a variety of ranges. Since Phase 1 contract award, SNC has made critical discoveries in advanced rocket motor technology for the OpFires upper stage, completing more than 30 motor trials from subscale through full size. SNC hopes to demonstrate these engines in flight and offer the engines to new, promising vehicle systems.

In addition to the deep throttling, restartable, storable system for DARPA, SNC is expanding its propulsion capabilities and products with near-term flight for its Dream Chaser spaceplane Reaction Control System, maturation of upper stage engines and development of other liquid storable engines for spacecraft, lunar, and other exploration and protection applications. SNC is also co-investing with the U.S. Air Force (USAF) for development of the engine for USAF needs.

Utility Aircraft

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and Textron Aviation Inc. announced the renewal of their exclusive teaming agreement for a next-generation Fixed-Wing Utility Aircraft (FUA) on April 27, 2018.

Sierra Nevada Corporation announces renewal of exclusive teaming agreement with Textron Aviation
Sierra Nevada Corporation announces renewal of exclusive teaming agreement with Textron Aviation

«SNC evaluated the available aircraft manufacturers and was pleased to select and partner with Textron Aviation», said Tim Owings, executive vice president of SNC’s Integrated Mission Systems (IMS) business area. «Textron Aviation is known as an industry leader in building safe, reliable and flexible aircraft. Our exclusive agreement with Textron Aviation will provide our customers with the best value and one of the most capable aircraft on the market today».

SNC, with more than 50 years of experience in systems integration, equipment manufacturing and servicing for both commercial and military aircraft, will lead the effort as the prime contractor, designing and integrating the Mission Equipment Package. As a world leader in aviation and the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) for the Beechcraft King Air aircraft, Textron Aviation has a versatile and capable fleet, providing best-of-breed aircraft and OEM support from turbo prop to jet.

«Textron Aviation is happy to be exclusively partnered with Sierra Nevada Corporation», said Bob Gibbs, vice president, Special Mission Sales. «Together we will develop an aircraft that can be manufactured specifically for this FUA effort. Combining Textron Aviation’s 90 years of unrivaled innovation, proven performance and manufacturing capability to build reliable, flexible aircraft and SNC’s track record for integrating military mission equipment will provide the best aircraft for the mission».

SNC’s IMS business area is a trusted provider of high-quality, multi-mission Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) products and services with years of experience supporting the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, commercial and international customers. The IMS team engineers, builds, integrates, modifies, fields and supports low-cost, turn-key air- and ground-based ISR systems and has sustained over 7,300,000 multi-mission/multi-intelligence flight hours worldwide.

JSTARS Recapitalization

Lockheed Martin is pleased to announce that Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has joined the Skunk Works Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) Recapitalization (Recap) team, which currently includes Bombardier and Raytheon, bringing greater value to the partnership, and the team’s ability to deliver a premier solution to the U.S. Air Force.

The Lockheed Martin Skunk Works-led team delivers a low-risk, affordable solution for the United States Air Force’s JSTARS Recap program (LM image)
The Lockheed Martin Skunk Works-led team delivers a low-risk, affordable solution for the United States Air Force’s JSTARS Recap program (LM image)

SNC, which previously qualified as a prime contractor candidate for the U.S. Air Force’s JSTARS Recap program, will perform modifications to Bombardier’s Global 6000 aircraft, and will help obtain the necessary airworthiness certifications from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and U.S. Air Force. This strategic partnership further enhances this powerful industry team to provide a system that will drive cost-savings, schedule and performance efficiencies for the U.S. Air Force.

«We are extremely pleased to combine forces with the Lockheed Martin-led team», said Ralph Pollitt, senior vice president of SNC’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) business area. «We look forward to contributing to the team’s success by applying decades of experience in modifying and certifying commercial and military aircraft for a wide-variety of users around the globe».

Lockheed Martin is the lead systems integrator for the program, while Raytheon brings its experience with ground surveillance, ISR systems, and JSTARS communications. Bombardier will provide its ultra-long-range Global 6000 business jet platform, which is less expensive to operate than modern airliners and is uniquely suited to the JSTARS Recap mission.

«SNC shares our team’s vision and commitment to our warfighters», said Andrew Adams, vice president of Advanced Systems, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works. «Together we will deliver a system that offers the optimum solution – quickly and affordably».