Sierra Space, the new commercial space subsidiary of Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC), announced the signing of a joint agreement with Redwire aimed at leveraging Sierra Space capabilities for a range of in-space services and manufacturing. The memorandum of understanding (MOU) in the emerging in-space manufacturing (ISM) industry is among new commercial agreements for Sierra Space across multiple industries – including space-enabled manufacturing, biopharma research, on-orbit satellite servicing assembly and manufacturing, and microgravity research.
By moving manufacturing and production into a microgravity environment, ISM offers efficiencies and capabilities not possible with terrestrial-based manufacturing methods. New Sierra Space partnerships hint at the exciting commercial potential of ISM, which can be leveraged to transform industries both on Earth and in space.
“The market demand for a ‘space-as-a-service’ business model, offering space transportation, destinations, and infrastructure, is truly exciting. We provide the versatility and affordability that allow ISM companies to scale operations in the new space economy,” said Eren Ozmen, president and owner of SNC. “The Sierra Space LIFE™ habitat provides an integrated, flexible, and expandable workspace for the many industries – including manufacturing – that can benefit from zero gravity.”
ISM companies can use a LIFE habitat module, which at 27ft in diameter is equivalent to three-stories of workspace in space, to host their research, development, and manufacturing operations. Alternatively, they can dock their own modules to a multi-habitat configuration of a Sierra Space commercial space station and use only its services, such as power, communications, environmental control, and transportation.
“The companies and countries that master microgravity R&D and manufacturing will be the economic leaders of tomorrow,” said Mike Gold, who, last month, left his position at NASA as associate administrator for policy and partnerships to join Redwire as the company’s executive vice president of civil space business development and external affairs. “By utilizing expandable habitat technology Sierra Space is offering a robust capability that will bolster and accelerate the substantial technological benefits of in-space manufacturing that Redwire Space is leading.”
Sierra Space recently announced plans for the first free-flying commercial space station in low-Earth orbit that includes multiple LIFE habitats and docking ports for Dream Chaser spaceplanes and other visiting vehicles and modules. The space station is modular, flexible, and provides a large environment for living and working and open to industries like pharmaceuticals, space tourism, and agriculture.