Sierra Space Signs Pentagon Initiative to Develop Rocket-Based Cargo Delivery

Commercial space company Sierra Space has signed an agreement with the US Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) to develop space transportation solutions for military cargo and personnel.

The capacity will enable the Department of Defense to deliver military assistance anywhere worldwide in a fraction of the time of traditional transportation.

The two organizations will work together to provide solutions based on “Sierra Space’s Dream Chaser space planes, Shooting Star cargo modules, and on-orbit infrastructure,” the Louisville-based company announced.

Hypersonic Cargo Delivery

Sierra Space CEO Tom Vice said, “Today’s agreement with the United States Transportation Command gives Sierra Space the unique opportunity to provide hypersonic point-to-point solutions to our government customers.” 

“Through Dream Chaser, the world’s first commercial spaceplane, the Shooting Star cargo module, and other projects, we are focused on providing unique ultra-high-speed, heavy payload solutions to the Department of Defense for logistics and personnel movement requirements. We plan to leverage these technologies to reach anywhere on the globe within three hours.”

According to USTRANSCOM, Sierra Space will create the capacity to launch multiple rockets into space, pre-position supplies in orbit, and deliver them through “multiple precision delivery platforms to sites around the globe, including on traditional runways.”

cargo space rocket
Illustration of a cargo space rocket. Image: Air Force Research Laboratory

Five Space Companies Tasked

The command has also initiated Cooperative Research and Development Agreements with Virgin Orbit National Systems and Rocket Lab USA. Similar partnerships are also ongoing with SpaceX and Blue Origin.

Virgin Orbit National Systems is developing an aircraft-launched rocket requiring less developed infrastructure than vertical takeoff systems for the initiative, while Rocket Lab USA is developing a series of vertical launch/landing vehicles that can put payloads into orbit. 

Expected in Next Decade

The USTRANSCOM expects the capacity to be ready by the next decade.

“We must continue to provide our leaders options below the threshold of war and prevent logistics from being the limiting factor on the battlefield,” deputy commander at USTRANSCOM, Lt. Gen. John P. Sullivan said.

“We are encouraged by the advancements being made by the space transportation industry as an emerging option.”

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