Inside Sierra Nevada Corp’s space plans, from the reusable ‘Dream Chaser’ to inflatable habitats

  • Private contractor Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) invested heavily in its space systems division, especially as it sees NASA and other companies building infrastructure in orbit.
  • The crown jewel of SNC’s space portfolio is Dream Chaser: A reusable spacecraft that is built to launch atop a traditional rocket and land on a runway like an airplane.
  • “We view the Dream Chaser as something that eventually in low Earth orbit will be providing transportation, logistics and crew for everybody,” Steve Lindsey, SNC’s senior vice president of strategy space systems, told CNBC.



a satellite in space: An animation shows Dream Chaser and its Shooting Star cargo module in orbit around the Earth.


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An animation shows Dream Chaser and its Shooting Star cargo module in orbit around the Earth.

Sierra Nevada Corporation is best known as a private aerospace and national security contractor – but the company is investing heavily in its space systems division, especially as it sees NASA and other companies building infrastructure in orbit.

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Chitin could be used to build tools and habitats on Mars, study finds

A figurine of an astronaut stands next to a block.
Enlarge / Scientists mixed chitin—an organic polymer found in abundance in arthropods, as well as fish scales—with a mineral that mimics the properties of Martian soil to create a viable new material for building tools and shelters on Mars.

Space aficionados who dream of one day colonizing Mars must grapple with the stark reality of the planet’s limited natural resources, particularly when it comes to building materials. A team of scientists from the Singapore University of Technology and Design discovered that, using simple chemistry, the organic polymer chitin—contained in the exoskeletons of insects and crustaceans—can easily be transformed into a viable building material for basic tools and habitats. This would require minimal energy and no need for transporting specialized equipment. The scientists described their experiments in a recent paper published in the journal PLOS ONE.

“The technology was originally developed to create circular ecosystems in urban environments,” said co-author Javier

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