Oita Prefecture × Sierra Space × Kanematsu Partnership Signed to Explore Use of Dream Chaser® America's Spaceplane® ~Oita Airport to Become a Spaceport for Asia~

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February 26th, 2022

Tokyo, Japan., February 26th, 2022 - Kanematsu Corporation and Sierra Space, a leading commercial space company with 1,100 employees, more than 500 missions and over 30 years of space flight heritage announced today that the companies have jointly signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Oita Prefecture agreeing to investigate Oita Airport in Kunisaki, Oita, Japan, as a potential landing site in Asia for Sierra Space's Dream Chaser® spaceplane.

With the announcement, Kanematsu will work with the three parties to develop new business opportunities in Japan for Sierra Space's Dream Chaser that will connect the Low Earth Orbit Destinations to the Earth, and will perform specific studies such as safety evaluation, environmental assessment, and potential economic impact.

Sierra Space has a vision "We envision a future where humanity lives and works in space, on moons, and on distant planets. People are married, children are born, families are raised, businesses are built, and new civilizations thrive.". Kanematsu shares this vision with our mission of "To contribute the society and create the future with the next-generation mobility business". Based on this partnership, Kanematsu will bring new value and opportunities not only in Oita but Asia regions too.

Landing image video of Dream Chaser

Oita Prefecture Governor Katsusada Hirose commented,

I am very pleased that we have been able to share a mutual vision with Sierra Space, the world's most advanced space company, and that our prefecture's potential in terms of industrial clusters and tourism resources has been recognized.

Together with Kanematsu, we will now proceed with a feasibility study on the utilization of Sierra Space as a spaceport in Asia, and I hope that this partnership will also serve as an opportunity to inspire children and companies in Oita in a wide range of fields, including education and business.

Sierra Space CEO Tom Vice added,

At Sierra Space we are building a platform in space to benefit life on Earth. Our work on the next generation of space transportation, commercial space destinations and enabling technologies is spearheaded by the Dream Chaser® spaceplane - a multi-variant space vehicle which leverages flexible design and performance versatility with the ability to land on existing commercial runways worldwide. Through this project with Oita Prefecture and Kanematsu we can envisage a future where the Oita Space Port is a hub for Dream Chaser landings, enabling returning space missions to land in Japan as part of our growing global network of landing sites.

Space Port Japan Representative Director Naoko Yamazaki, said

We are pleased that Oita Prefecture and Kanematsu Corporation have joined forces through the Space Port Japan (SPJ) membership network to discuss the possibility of establishing a landing site in Asia for Sierra Space's Dream Chaser spaceplane.

SPJ will continue to support the study and contribute to the development of the space industry.

Kanematsu Corporation President Yoshiya Miyabe noted,

We are very pleased to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Oita Prefecture, a leader in Asia in the field of spaceport, and Sierra Space, a world leader in space industry during the 33rd International Symposium on Space Technology and Science.

Through this partnership, Kanematsu will not only create new businesses, but also pursue to contribute to the society in the fields such as STEAM education.

We believe that this partnership will lead to the growth of the space business in Oita Prefecture and the Asian region.

About Sierra Space

Sierra Space products and programs are working towards a more accessible space economy. The company is rapidly advancing toward the launch of the world's only winged commercial spaceplane, the Dream Chaser®. As the next generation of space transportation, the Dream Chaser will perform cargo supply and return missions for NASA, set to begin in late 2022, delivering up to 12,000 pounds of cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) at a time. The return journey will carry critical data, generated by ISS researcher experiments, enabling earth-bound scientists to benefit from much faster access to these unique results. Dream Chaser is a reusable spaceplane, uniquely capable of a smooth 1.5 low-g re-entry for crew and cargo transportation with the ability to land on existing commercial runways worldwide.

Sierra Space is the developer of the Large Integrated Flexible Environment (LIFETM) Habitat, a modular, three-story commercial habitation and science platform. The unique structure will provide opportunities for multiple businesses including manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and other sectors, to optimize zero gravity benefits. The LIFE Habitat will be able to be deployed in low-Earth orbit, on the lunar surface, or lunar orbit, and as a transport vehicle to Mars. Both Dream Chaser and LIFE Habitat will launch using conventional rocket propulsion systems.

The Dream Chaser spaceplane and LIFE platform are central components of the partnership Orbital Reef commercial space station and mixed-use business park being developed in partnership with Blue Origin.


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