Amy Johnson
757-864-7022/272-9859 (mobile)

Cassie Kloberdanz
Sierra Nevada Space Systems
RELEASE : 11-050
NASA Engineers Honored for Past Work's Impact to Future Commercial Space Vehicle Design
HAMPTON, Va. -- Decades-old research and testing done by engineers at NASA's Langley Research Center will be recognized Wednesday for its applicability to a future commercial crew space vehicle that could eventually carry astronauts to the International Space Station.

Sierra Nevada Space Systems, which operates out of Louisville, Colo., is working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement to develop a new orbital crew transportation system.

Sierra Nevada's space vehicle -- the "Dream Chaser" -- is based on NASA Langley's "Horizontal Lander" HL-20 lifting body design concept, and combines years of analysis and wind tunnel testing by NASA Langley engineers during the 1980s and 1990s.

A lifting body spacecraft design offers increased cross-range and lower G forces on entry than a capsule design. The Dream Chaser is a piloted space solution which launches vertically and lands horizontally and will be able to carry a crew of up to seven and critical cargo to the ISS and other low earth orbit destinations.

"NASA Langley has been an engaged and supportive partner since the beginning of our Dream Chaser Orbital Vehicle Program," said Mark Sirangelo, head of Sierra Nevada Space Systems. "The Dream Chaser was born at NASA as the HL-20, and it carries with it the spirit, history, and experiences of the entire HL-20 team. We would not be where we are without the talented people at NASA and an expression of our gratitude is long overdue. The Dream Chaser Program is honored to be carrying NASA heritage with us on our orbital flights."

During Wednesday's event, executives from Sierra Nevada will recognize about 40 current and retired NASA Langley engineers for their contributions on the HL-20 program. NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver will also speak at the function.

The event is scheduled to be broadcast live on NASA Television from 2 to 3 p.m. EDT.

Media interested in covering the event should contact Amy Johnson at 757-272-9859 by 9 a.m. Wednesday, June 22, to gain access on center.

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