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Celebrating National Astronaut Day and the Future of Spaceflight at Sierra Space

Sierra Space Astronaut Day 2023

On May 5, 1961, Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard made history by becoming the first American to fly into space aboard the Freedom 7 capsule. To honor his pioneering achievement, we celebrate National Astronaut Day on the anniversary of his historic flight. This day provides an opportunity to recognize American astronauts’ accomplishments and inspire the next generation to reach for the stars.  

Sierra Space is proud to commemorate National Astronaut Day as we democratize space travel and make it accessible to all. Looking toward the future of space travel, we want to acknowledge the role of commercial space companies that are reimagining human spaceflight in the Orbital Age. With the advancement of space technology, we can now explore space in ways that were once impossible, making it accessible to everyone.  

To pave the way for the Orbital Age, Sierra Space is privileged to have three veteran NASA astronauts on our leadership team, including Dr. Janet Kavandi, Steve Lindsey, and Dr. Tom Marshburn.  

Dr. Kavandi, the President and Chief Science Officer of Sierra Space, has a PhD in chemistry and has spent a total of 33 days in space on three space shuttle missions. Prior to joining Sierra Space in 2019, she held various positions at NASA including Deputy Director of Health and Human Performance and Director of Flight Crew Operations at Johnson Space Center, and Director of Glenn Research Center. 

Steve Lindsey, Sierra Space’s Senior Vice President of Advanced Programs, joined the company in 2011.  Lindsey, a retired Air Force leader, completed five space shuttle missions, serving as pilot and as mission commander. Both Mr. Lindsey and Dr. Kavandi are inductees in the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. 

Dr. Tom Marshburn joined Sierra Space as Chief Medical Officer for the Human Spaceflight Office earlier this year. He flew on both the space shuttle, the Russian Soyuz, and SpaceX Dragon logging over 337 days in space, including two spacewalks. Dr. Marshburn was a flight engineer on Expedition 66 and commander of Expedition 67.  

All three of these accomplished astronauts’ invaluable experience and expertise in spaceflight provide clear, knowledge-based leadership for Sierra Space’s efforts to create a more accessible and sustainable ecosystem in space. 

In pursuit of this goal, Sierra Space has established the Human Spaceflight Center and Training Academy, led by Dr. Kavandi, which will provide comprehensive training programs to prepare individuals for spaceflight. This facility will offer astronaut training, mission simulations, and other services to prepare aspiring space travelers for their journey into space. Sierra Space believes that space is for everyone, and through the Human Spaceflight Center and Training Academy, we hope to inspire and enable a new generation of space explorers. 

Celebrating National Astronaut Day is an opportunity to honor the groundbreaking achievements of American astronauts like Alan Shepard and inspire future generations to reach for the stars. As we celebrate this day, we also recognize the pivotal role of the Orbital Age in the development of commercial spaceflight. 

Through our efforts, we hope to inspire and enable everyone to experience the wonder and beauty of space. As we look towards the future, we believe that space travel will become increasingly accessible, and we are committed to being at the forefront of this exciting new era in space exploration.