Mark Sirangelo is giving up his role as head of Sierra Nevada Corp’s (SNC) Space Systems division. Sirangelo gained that position after serving as CEO of SpaceDev, which SNC acquired in 2008. Fatih Ozmen, overall owner of the firm with his partner Eren, takes over from Sirangelo as the temporary head of this business arm.

Dreamchaser lands after successful drop test. Courtesy: NASA

The company is known for developing small spacecraft. Its first major satellite order was for 18 Orbcomm second generation satellites. SNC Space Systems is also developing the Dream Chaser lifting body mini-shuttle for use as a cargo transport for NASA commercial missions and later human missions.

SNC was originally founded in 1963, but it was not until 1994 that current owners Faith and Eren Ozmen bought the entirety of the company. It operates in several business areas: Space Systems (SS), Communications Navigation Surveillance (CNS), Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR), Integrated Mission Systems (IMS), Information & Sensor Solutions (ISS) and Electronic Warfare/Range Instrumentation (EWR).

Comment by David Todd: Sirangelo is credited with a dogged determination to make the HL-20 based Dreamchaser mini-shuttle project succeed, despite competition setbacks which saw SpaceX and Boeing’s capsule-based spacecraft gain commercial crew human transportation contracts over SNC’s Dreamchaser due to their likely faster development. Subsequently, SpaceX and Boeing have both suffered significantly delays to their human spacecraft programmes. Many commentators believe that the Dreamchaser would have been a better solution for NASA’s low Earth orbit (LEO) transportation needs. Dreamchaser was subsequently thrown a lifeline by NASA in being selected as a cargo transportation craft for commercial resupply to LEO, and has gained the support of other space agencies including ESA.

Mark Sirangelo with Jan Woerner when Woerner was head of the German DLR. Courtesy: DLR