LOUISVILLE — Louisville’s Sierra Space Corp., a spinoff from Sierra Nevada Corp., is opening the Human Spaceflight Center and Astronaut Training Academy at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to train astronauts for commercial missions.
NASA astronaut Janet Kavandi will lead the center.
“Our intent is for Sierra Space to stand at the forefront of the commercial space industry,” Kavandi said in a prepared statement. “Our new Human Spaceflight Center and Astronaut Training Academy will pave the way for our company to do just that — by selecting, training and preparing the very best space exploration talent to lead the way in this new era of low-Earth orbit destinations. We are excited to start this effort at the Kennedy Space Center during this truly formative stage in the new space economy.”
Sierra Space has two main aerospace projects: the Dream Chaser space plane, which is expected to be used to resupply the International Space Station starting next year; and the Large Integrated Flexible Environment (LIFE) Habitat, a modular, three-story commercial habitation, business and science platform.
“The commercialization of space, starting with low Earth orbit, will require an innovative new approach to the selection, training and preparation of the large numbers of women and men that we will need to live and work in space,” Sierra Space CEO Tom Vice said in a prepared statement. “We are really excited to have Dr. Kavandi lead this center. Janet has an unequaled level of expertise and experience that uniquely qualifies her for this one-of-a-kind role. She is a former NASA astronaut and scientist, a veteran of three space shuttle missions and an inductee into the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame. Janet also served as NASA’s deputy chief of the Astronaut Office, flight crew operations director and center director at NASA’s Glenn Research Center. She will do an incredible job training and preparing humanity for this next industrial revolution occurring in space.”