HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden will be atthe Marshall Space Flight Center on Friday to check on the progress of theSpace Launch System, or SLS.
Tuesday at Marshall, the talk was aboutgetting crew, cargo and science experiments to the International Space Stationon-board an American-built mini-shuttle called the Dreamchaser.Sierra Nevada Corporation is building the Dreamchaser in New Orleans, but isexpanding its scope of work in Huntsville.
The venture is a public-private partnershipthat will mean more money and potentially more jobs in the Huntsville area.
"Our rocket is designed and built in Decatur,"said Sierra Nevada's Mark Sirangelo. "We are looking at doing additionalscience work here in Huntsville. If we can bring those jobs back to the US,instead of spending $70 million every time we launch an American astronaut on aSoyuz, we think that is not only going to benefit Alabama and the US, but more importantlyour children."
Sierra Nevada's Dreamchaser hopes to bechosen as one of NASA's space taxis to the ISS. It is versatile: it can flycrewed or unmanned, and is its own science lab. With assistance from TeledyneBrown and the MSFC, the company hopes to coordinate and fly short-term scienceexperiments from UAB, UAH, Hudson-Alpha and others.
Dreamchaser may offer near-door-to-doorservice; it could land at any commercial airport from low-Earth orbit.Dreamchaser's first test flight is scheduled for 2016, with its first crewedflight slated for 2017.