Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser lifting-body spacecraft landing at proposed Houston Spaceport a

Sierra Nevada Corporation is investigating the possibility of using the proposed Houston Spaceport (at Ellington Airport, just north of Johnson Space Center) as a landing site for its Dream Chaser lifting-body spacecraft.

Sierra Nevada and the Houston Airport System have signed a letter of intent to study the landing site and other possibilities afforded by Houston Space Port, including a wide range of educational, technological, scientific, and business applications. The agreement was announced during a press conference at Rice University.

Together, the two organizations will study the physical, operational, and regulatory requirements for operating Dream Chaser at the space port.

The Houston Airport System believes the effort will contribute to a long-range strategy for the diversification and development of a vibrant commercial space industry in Texas, serving the needs of government, science, and commercial applications.

Mark Sirangelo, Sierra Nevada corporate vice president and head of Space Systems, said, “Houston has been a cornerstone of America’s space program and remains vital for its future. Dream Chaser’s ability to land on a commercial runway such as Ellington offers, for the first time, a realistic path for America’s space program to return and be seen locally by the thousands of people who make space happen every day in Houston and give tribute to the generations that have made us the leaders in exploration. As importantly, we can reach out to the young people of the region who will take us to the future and get them to experience in person the passion of our nation’s space program so that they might be inspired as we were. With the unique combination of NASA, the local aerospace industry, many of whom are already partnered on our program and academic institutions such as Rice University, combined with the potential of a future space port, Houston’s future in space commerce is a go.”

“Houston has unique advantages over other emerging spaceport locations with significant access to an existing, robust aerospace community,” said City of Houston Aviation Director Mario Diaz. “This letter of intent will allow us to effectively assess and define the new markets and applications that could emerge from having a Houston-based portal to space, which in turn will drive enterprise, economic growth and prosperity in this area.”

Sierra Nevada is developing Dream Chaser as a multi-mission spacecraft with the ability to work as an independent science platform, or as a logistics vehicle to retrieve, move, assemble or deploy items in space, including resupplying the International Space Station.

Written by Astro1 on April 10th, 2014 , Sierra Nevada, Spaceports

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