Sierra Space yesterday did a major staffing shake up, laying off 165 workers while shifting 150 with secruity clearances from its parent company Sierra Nevada.
Sierra Space this week shipped the first Dream Chaser, named Tenacity, for pre-launch testing at NASA’s Armstrong facility in Ohio. The layoffs began soon after, the Sierra Space spokesperson said, noting the company conducted a surge in hiring this year to complete work on the Tenacity spacecraft.
With Tenacity shipped, Sierra Space’s spokesperson said the company is realigning to focus on the operations phase of Dream Chaser’s first mission, as well as on classified national security work. The latter part of Sierra Space’s realignment includes adding nearly 150 employees with security clearances from Sierra Nevada Corp., the aerospace and defense contractor owned by Fatih and Eren Ozmen, which the space company was spun out of two years ago. Sierra Space’s spokesperson said the company is creating a national security space team to work on several classified contracts.
This shift suggests that at least in the short run, Sierra is putting more focus on future military contracts rather than its civilian manned space projects like its LIFE space module (for the Orbital Reef space station) and future manner versions of its Dream Chaser mini-shuttle. I wonder if the company is having more internal doubts about Orbital Reef and its main partner, Blue Origin. Unlike the stations being built by Axiom and Voyager Space, which have already garnered contracts from both national and international customers, Orbital Reef has not done the same. There could be great doubts in the space community it will be built because of Blue Origin’s absymal record for building anything.
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