Capialism in space: Sierra Nevada today announced that it will use ULA’s Vulcan rocket for the six unmanned cargo flights of Dream Chaser to ISS beginning in 2021.
Sierra Nevada engineers and the company’s owners, Fatih and Eren Ozmen, considered boosters built in Japan, Europe and by SpaceX and Blue Origin. But they ultimately selected United Launch Alliance, they said, based on a competitive — but undisclosed — cost, the Vulcan’s capabilities, ULA’s unblemished launch record and a long-standing working relationship.
While the six space station resupply missions are baselined to fly on the Vulcan, with ULA’s Atlas 5 available as a backup, CEO Fatih Ozmen said the company is holding open the option of launching Dream Chasers commercially on other rockets if demand develops. [emphasis mine]
The highlighted text is key. They are putting ULA on notice. Deliver at a competitive price, and on time, or we will exercise our option to go elsewhere.
At the same time, this really isn’t news. The company picked ULA for its first two Dream Chaser cargo flights back in 2017.
Meanwhile, I would like to see some concrete progress from Sierra Nevada. They got their cargo development contract from NASA in January 2016, almost four years ago, and since then not much has seemed to happen.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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