Spaceport Cornwall, the UK’s horizontal launch site, and Sierra Nevada Corp, which will be engaging through its wholly owned subsidiary Sierra Space, have signed an MoU to explore future collaboration opportunities following the completion of UK Space Agency funded Concept of Operations for Sierra Space’s Dream Chaser spaceplane.
Spaceport Cornwall and Sierra Space say they have a shared vision to democratise space – increasing space sector participation by lowering the cost of access to space and communicating the vital role satellites can play in combating some of the global challenges.
The signing of the MoU follows discussions between the two companies over the past two years and follows the completion of the concept of operations (CONOPS) undertaken by Sierra Space regarding the suitability of Spaceport Cornwall to be a return location for its runway landing Dream Chaser.
The conclusion of the study was that Spaceport Cornwall was a favorable and potential return location and is likely to lead to a more detailed landing site study ahead of Cornwall being named a planned return location for missions in the future.
The Dream Chaser project is designed to launch from a variety of vertical launch vehicles to LEO and return to a spaceport or airport runway similar to any large commercial aeroplane – the system is designed for multiple reuse, making it a more sustainable launch system.
The CONOPS, funded by the UK Space Agency as part of their Horizontal Launch Fund, investigated a number of factors including the operational requirements of Dream Chaser, the US/UK regulatory framework, return mission trajectory analysis, risk analysis, environmental and infrastructure review, as well as a consideration of present and future supply chain capability.