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Exploring the universe of space systems for DOD logistics

Army Lt. Gen. John Sullivan (fifth from left), U.S. Transportation Command deputy commander, poses for a group photo in front of a Sierra Space spaceplane Oct 19, in Louisville, Colorado. The spaceplane, called Dream Chaser, lands on conventional runways after launch from vertical rockets. (Courtesy photo)

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Scott Air Force Base, Ill. (October 26, 2023) — U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) continues collaborative exploration of spacelift as a new fourth mode of Defense Department global transportation for warfighting customers.


Army Lt. Gen. John Sullivan, USTRANSCOM deputy commander and director of the command’s collaborative technology development projects, visited Sierra Space in Louisville, Colorado, on Oct. 19, along with Air Force Research Laboratory’s Air Force Rocket Cargo program manager, Dr. Greg Spanjers. During the visit, Sullivan viewed Sierra Space’s Dream Chaser spaceplane, designed to land on conventional runways after launch from vertical rockets.


“Space transportation as a potential alternate mode of time-sensitive distribution is of great interest to USTRANSCOM,” said Sullivan. “We are seeing rapid innovation across the industry in terms of delivery, capacity, supply chain integration and building up robust ground infrastructure. And Sierra Space continues to be a phenomenal partner in exploring the art of the possible.”


Erik Daehler, Sierra Space’s vice president for Orbital Systems and Services, said the visit will help Sierra Space as it looks toward how the space domain will be used in the future.


“USTRANSCOM, through its cooperative R&D agreement with Sierra Space, is helping us understand how a potential future customer, with specialized mission needs, thinks about using space today — and how they should think about it in the future,” said Daehler. 


USTRANSCOM is continuing to test the assumption with commercial industry partners that space, when added to traditional air, land, and sea modes, yields improved responsiveness to humanitarian and joint force needs in distant engagements, adds options for planning military logistics missions, and opens access to geographic points on the Earth. Observing systems in development is just one of several recent efforts to expand the combatant command’s involvement in the industry’s development of rocket-launched point-to-point terrestrial delivery systems.


U.S. Transportation Command is a warfighting combatant command that projects and sustains military power at a time and place of the nation’s choosing. Powered by dedicated men and women, USTRANSCOM underwrites the lethality of the joint force, advances American interests around the globe, and provides our nation’s leaders with strategic flexibility to select from multiple options, while creating multiple dilemmas for our adversaries.


For questions regarding USTRANSCOM or its mission, email the Public Affairs office at transcom.scott.tcpa.mbx.director@mail.mil or call 1-618-817-4999.

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