This is a first step in a possible larger agreement.
To start, SNC and the CSA are inviting the Canadian space community to CSA headquarters for a kick off event on December 6–7.
According to SNC the Dream Chaser is a reusable spacecraft that is a “multi-mission, commercial, lifting-body vehicle capable of transportation services to low-Earth orbit (LEO) destinations, including the International Space Station (ISS).”
In a press release the CSA said “Canadian firms and researchers will be able to propose their technologies and science to SNC. It will also allow Canada to explore the possibility of using the Dream Chaser for future Canadian missions and could lead the way for Canadian researchers to perform experiments and demonstrations in low Earth orbit.”
Mark Sirangelo, corporate vice president of SNC’s Space Systems business area said “SNC is dedicated to international cooperation for space. We are always looking for new global partnerships and ways to share resources and technology that improve and increase space travel. Canada continues to be a world leader in technology for space missions and this agreement allows us to take advantage of that expertise. SNC is grateful to CSA President Sylvain Laporte for his leadership and vision.”
Minister Navdeep Bains said, “Canada’s world-class reputation as a leader in multiple space technology areas such as robotics has led to this new international collaboration with Sierra Nevada Corporation. Working with this company can mean new business opportunities for Canadian firms and researchers in Canada’s space sector, which may lead to jobs and new skills for Canadians and new space innovations in the years to come.”
The Dream Chaser is designed to land like a plane on a runway. It comes in two versions, an unmanned cargo version and manned version.
In the future, should the CSA come to an agreement to with SNC for a mission, it’s entirely possible that when the mission is done it could land at one of Canada’s airports to return Canadian scientific experiments.
SNC is currently under contract to NASA to perform a minimum of six Dream Chaser cargo missions to the International Space Station by 2024 with the first schedule to take place in 2021.