Sierra Space and Notre Dame to Push the Boundaries of Scientific Discovery in Space

Man conducting scientific research to push the boundaries of scientific discovery in space.

New agreement extends storied university’s space-based research to new heights and broadens Sierra Space’s leadership in the Orbital Age®

LOUISVILLE, Colo. – February 28, 2023  Sierra Space, a leading pureplay commercial space company building the first end-to-end business and technology platform in space, announced today the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with University of Notre Dame to explore future space-based research and development in low-Earth orbit (LEO), including flying R&D payloads and conducting scientific investigations on board new commercial outposts.

The five-year agreement empowers university researchers and Sierra Space’s top aerospace engineers and scientists to collaborate on all Sierra Space platforms, including the company’s Dream Chaser® spaceplane, LIFE® habitat and Orbital Reef, a commercial space station co-developed by Sierra Space and Blue Origin, enabling future R&D opportunities for the storied academic institution.

“The next great breakthroughs in human health, computing and telecommunications will be enabled in space and our company’s mission is to unlock that great potential for the benefit of all humanity,” said Sierra Space CEO Tom Vice. “This alignment with Notre Dame’s globally renowned faculty and students will seek to utilize the university’s vast expertise in space and microgravity research to further accelerate our collective effort to establish a platform in space to benefit life on Earth.”

Through the MOU, Sierra Space and Notre Dame’s subject matter experts will identify potential opportunities to send research and development payloads to space on Sierra Space’s commercial platforms, conduct microgravity experiments, design and develop hardware to support experimental objectives, and support the commercialization from research findings.

Notre Dame will draw from its Life Science, Physical & Material Science, Earth and Planetary Science and Aerospace Technology Development fields to create research and development payloads that will use microgravity for findings that could bring benefits to a future where living and working in low-Earth orbit is more common.

“The University is committed to scientific breakthroughs that can help all of humanity,” said David Go, Notre Dame Vice President and Associate Provost for Academic Strategy and Viola D. Hank Professor. “This agreement gives our students and faculty the opportunity to take part in cutting-edge research that will benefit generations to come. Our researchers are always looking for new environments in which to conduct their scientific investigations and access to a unique platform in microgravity will lead us into a whole new era of innovation.” Go is also the chair of Notre Dame’s Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering.

Sierra Space may also work with Notre Dame’s start-up companies whose interests include commercialization of technology and products that could benefit space and/or microgravity research and manufacturing. Additional collaboration could include developing proposals and teaming to conduct microgravity research.




About Sierra Space

Sierra Space ( is a leading pureplay commercial space company at the forefront of innovation and the commercialization of space in the Orbital Age®, building platforms in space to benefit life on Earth. With more than 30 years and 500 missions of space flight heritage, the company is enabling the future of space transportation with Dream Chaser®, the world’s only winged commercial spaceplane. Under construction at its Colorado headquarters and expected to launch in 2023 on the first of a series of NASA missions to the International Space Station, Dream Chaser can safely carry cargo – and eventually crew – to on-orbit destinations, returning to land on compatible commercial airport runways worldwide. Sierra Space is also building an array of in-space destinations for low-Earth orbit (LEO) commercialization including the LIFE® habitat (Large Integrated Flexible Environment), a three-story commercial habitation and science platform designed for LEO. Both Dream Chaser and LIFE are central components to Orbital Reef, a mixed-use business park in LEO being developed by principal partners Sierra Space and Blue Origin, which is expected to be operational by the end of the decade.


About Notre Dame Research

University of Notre Dame is a private research and teaching university inspired by its Catholic mission. Located in South Bend, Indiana, its researchers are advancing human understanding through research, scholarship, education, and creative endeavor in order to be a repository for knowledge and a powerful means for doing good in the world. For more information, please see or @UNDResearch.






Alex Walker 
Sierra Space
(303) 803-2297

Allison Gregg
Griffin Communications Group
(256) 520-3985


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