Sierra Nevada Corp. selected the new Vulcan Centaur rocket, manufactured and operated by the United Launch Alliance, as the carrier for the Dream Chaser supply ships which should bring valuable resources to the International Space Station from 2021. The company is the first to opt for the new generation of rockets.
The first Dream Chaser mission has been scheduled for launch in late 2021. It will be de second flight of the Vulcan Centaur rocket, which will be showcased earlier in the same year. Cape Canaveral was selected as the launch site.
A high-ranking ULA employee praised the decision, mentioning that the competitive launch market is richer than ever and SNC’s option to pick the company as a partner is an honor for ULA. SNC signed a previous deal with ULA for two Dream Chaser launches with the help of Atlas 5 rockets. According to the new agreement, these launches have bee converted into Vulcan ones, and an additional number of 4 Dream Chaser missions were added to the contract.
Sierra Nevada Corp. Chose ULA’s Vulcan Rocket To Deploy Dream Chaser Cargo Ships
It’s not a new partnership as the companies have worked together in the past, a factor which may have contributed to the choice. Sierra Nevada has worked with ULA for a long time, and a competitive price offer was also available.
Five other potential providers were taken into account, including Space X and Blue Origin. Each offered excellent capabilities and competitive features, but SNC decided to pick ULA, according to a statement provided by an SNC spokesperson, due to the reliability and track record of previous missions. There were no incidents related to the Altas 5 rockets, an advantage which was quite remarkable.
Both companies declined to share financial details related to the contract, but Atlas 5 rockets will be available as a contingency plan if any issues surface during the development of the Vulcan rockets. The new rocket generation will come with several performance improvements.