Sierra Space Taps Global Authority on Expandable Space Station Technology for Key Leadership Role

Sierra Space's Shawn Buckley Stands Atop the Company's First Full-Scale Test Article for the LIFE Habitat

Shawn Buckley elevated to expand company’s in-space destinations development to further its mission of benefiting life on Earth

LOUISVILLE, Colo. – May 21, 2024Sierra Space, a leading commercial space-tech  company and next generation  defense-tech prime building a platform in space to benefit life on Earth, announced today the promotion of Shawn Buckley to Vice President of the company’s in-space destinations development.

In his new role, Buckley will oversee all products in Sierra Space’s space station technology portfolio and in-space infrastructure, most notably the company’s development of the enabling technology for the world’s first commercial space station. During this critical phase of technology development, focusing on the market application of space habitation, Buckley’s team has overseen six stress tests of its expandable space station tech; a seventh test – the second on a full-scale test article — is scheduled for next month.

“Shawn is our industry’s definitive voice on space station technology, making him the ideal candidate to lead our team’s in-space habitation work during this critical phase of development,” said Tom Vice, CEO of Sierra Space. “As the Dream Chaser transitions into mission operations and our space station testing campaigns ramp up to meet our company goals and the industry needs, I can think of no one better to lead this highly talented team.”

Buckley will lead Sierra Space’s effort to produce a robust space habitation product line, which currently includes active development of the LIFE® (Large Integrated Flexible Environment) habitat, a large, three-story structure that launches compressed on a conventional rocket and inflates on orbit, delivering unit economics for in-space operations and can comfortably host four to six astronauts as they conduct research and science experiments in the unique environment of microgravity. This new, expandable space station technology can replicate the entire capacity of the International Space Station in just three launches.

“The past two years have been nothing short of amazing and we have accomplished what others thought was the impossible,” said Buckley. “Sierra Space is an industry-leading company that can impact the complete space ecosystem from transportation to on-orbit destinations and the supporting applications and hardware components. I am looking forward to continuing to work with these amazing teams at Sierra Space to drive the future of space commercialization in the Orbital Age.”

Buckley is the global authority on expandable habitats – structures that are built with chemically woven fabrics (aka softgoods) – with unmatched technical expertise in the field of space habitation. Prior to this appointment, he held the role of Senior Director of Engineering and Chief Technologist of EarthSpace™ Systems at Sierra Space, leading Phase 1 development for the Orbital Reef program. Before joining Sierra Space, he held roles as the Chief Technologist and Habitation Manager at Lockheed Martin and Vice President of Softgoods and Deputy Program Manager for the B330 program at Bigelow Aerospace. He was a key architect in the success of the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), which has been attached to the International Space Station (ISS) since 2016. That program produced the only Softgoods expandable habitat that has ever been pressurized and attached to the ISS.

Sierra Space recently achieved a groundbreaking milestone with a successful full-scale structural test of LIFE habitat’s pressure shell at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, exceeding NASA’s safety and certification guidelines. Building upon this successful test, the company will deploy this expandable technology in collaboration with Blue Origin on Orbital Reef, and on Sierra Space’s free-flying Orbital Pathfinder. Alongside the Business Development team, Buckley will be responsible for attracting customers and additional investment, while continuing to build deep relationships with cutting-edge technology partners.

For more on Sierra Space Destinations and how the company is unlocking the potential for anyone to live and work in space, please click here.




About Sierra Space 

Sierra Space is a leading commercial space company at the forefront of innovation and the commercialization of space in the Orbital Age®, building an end-to-end business and technology platform in space to benefit life on Earth. With more than 30 years and 500 missions of space flight heritage, the company is reinventing both space transportation with Dream Chaser®, the world’s only commercial spaceplane, and the future of space destinations with the company’s inflatable and expandable space station technology. Using commercial business models, the company is also delivering orbital services to commercial, DoD and national security organizations, expanding production capacity to meet the needs of constellation programs. In addition, Sierra Space builds a host of systems and subsystems across solar power, mechanics and motion control, environmental control, life support, propulsion and thermal control, offering myriad space-as-a-service solutions for the new space economy. 




Alex Walker, Sierra Space
(303) 803-2297 | 

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