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Sierra Space is a major partner in the proposed Orbital Reef commercial space station, supplying inflatable modules and its Dream Chaser vehicle. Credit: Blue Origin

WASHINGTON — Sierra Space, the space subsidiary of Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), has raised $1.4 billion in a Series A round that values the company at $4.5 billion.

The company announced the round Nov. 19, led by General Atlantic, Coatue and Moore Strategic Ventures, with participation from funds and accounts managed by BlackRock Private Equity Partners, AE Industrial Partners, and various strategic family offices. Sierra Space calls the round the second largest private capital round in the aerospace and defense sector ever.

“We are building the next generation of space transportation systems and in-space infrastructures and destinations that will enable humanity to build and sustain thriving civilizations beyond Earth,” said Tom Vice, chief executive of Sierra Space. “Equally as important, Sierra Space is building the next platform for business. Space provides a unique environment that will enable new breakthroughs in critical areas such as pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, fiber optics and energy that will directly enhance our life on Earth.”

“General Atlantic and our fellow co-investors are proud to support Sierra Space in its vision to define the future of the commercial space economy,” said Bill Ford, chairman and chief executive of General Atlantic, in the statement. “The company has harnessed advanced technologies and a culture of innovation to develop products that have transformative potential, and that position Sierra Space as an emerging leader in the new space age. We look forward to providing active partnership to Sierra Space and its management team to accelerate its growth and magnify its global impact.”

The company will use the funds to support development of Dream Chaser, the lifting-body vehicle it is building for to transport cargo for the International Space Station starting in late 2022. The company originally developed Dream Chaser to carry people as a competitor in NASA’s commercial crew program, and company executives have frequently stated they still plan to develop a crewed version at a later date.

The funds will also support development of its Large Integrated Flexible Environment (LIFE) inflatable module. Both LIFE and Dream Chaser are part of Orbital Reef, the commercial space station concept announced Oct. 25 by a team that includes Sierra Space along with Blue Origin, Boeing and Redwire.

Sierra Space has relied on investment from SNC’s founders, Fatih and Eren Ozmen. At the Oct. 25 announcement of Orbital Reef, Janet Kavandi, president of Sierra Space, said that SNC has put more than $1 billion into Dream Chaser development and an unspecified amount into LIFE.

SNC spun off its space division, established in 2008, into Sierra Space in April. Part of the reason for creating Sierra Space was to allow it to take outside investment to fuel its growth.

“We have worked hard for years to nurture the Sierra Space business from its genesis in 2008 to today, where it has significantly grown to hold a very unique and strategic position in the rapidly expanding commercial space sector,” Fatih Ozmen, chief executive of SNC and chairman of the board of Sierra Space, said in the statement. “Sierra Space now has the right scale, and with its leading-edge technologies and turnkey capabilities is poised to significantly accelerate growth with this investment.”


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