Sierra Nevada Corp. Buys Orbitec for Spaceship Business

Image: Dream Chaser
Dawn lights up Sierra Nevada Corp.'s Dream Chaser prototype as it sits on the runway at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center.NASA

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Sierra Nevada Corp., one of the companies that's receiving NASA funds to build a new kind of spaceship, says it's reached agreement to acquire Wisconsin-based Orbital Technologies Corp., or Orbitec, as a wholly owned subsidiary. Orbitec has been working on the life support and thermal control systems for Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser spacecraft — a mini-shuttle that's currently going through atmospheric flight tests. Orbitec was also selected to provide a thruster system for the Dream Chaser that would use non-toxic propellants. Word of the acquisition came in a Sierra Nevada news release on Thursday, but no details on purchase terms were available. In addition to Sierra Nevada, NASA is supporting efforts at the Boeing Co. and SpaceX to develop spaceships capable of transporting astronauts to and from the International Space Station. So far, NASA has spent more than $1 billionon the effort, and the next round of funding is to be awarded soon.

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