Sierra Nevada Corporation Plays Vital Role in the Dramatic Successful Landing of Curiosity

Sparks, NV - August 6, 2012 - Sierra Nevada Corporation's (SNC) Space Systems is proud to announce that SNC has once again successfully aided in a mission to Mars. The precision landing of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover on Monday, August 6, 2012 marks the 11th time SNC has provided critical hardware for spacecraft orbiting or landing on Mars. 

SNC's descent brake mechanism was designed and built to control the speed of the tethered descent of the exploratory NASA rover to the surface of Mars prior to a gentle landing on the surface.  During the now infamous "seven minutes of terror"  approach and landing to Mars, the entire world, anxiously watched as MSL and all its systems including the descent brake performed exactly as anticipated and assisted in the successful landing using the novel sky-crane system. "We would like to offer our sincere congratulations to NASA, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the whole MSL team for showing us all how the amazing gets done.  It has been a program of a lifetime for us to be part of and we are very grateful to have been given the opportunity by NASA to be part of planetary exploration history." Said Mark Sirangelo, head of SNC Space Systems and corporate vice president of SNC.

In addition to safely lowering Curiosity, SNC also provided nine gear box assemblies in the Sample Handling System of Curiosity, controlling critical science instruments such as the drill used to cut samples from rock and the scoop that collects loose rock and soil samples.  These experiments will lead to a significant advancement of our knowledge of Mars and will someday facilitate future exploration of the Red Planet.

To date, SNC has delivered and successfully operated more than 4,000 mechanisms on more than 400 spacecraft. Included are over 100 mechanisms for Mars missions such as Mars Exploration Rover (MER), Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), and Phoenix.

About Sierra Nevada Corporation's Space Systems

Sierra Nevada Corporation's Space Systems business area headquartered in Louisville, Colorado, designs and manufactures advanced spacecraft, space vehicles, rocket motors and spacecraft subsystems and components for the US Government, commercial customers as well as for the international market.  SNC Space Systems has more than 25 years of space heritage in space and has participated in over 400 successful space missions through the delivery of over 4,000 systems, subsystems and components.  During its history, SNC Space Systems has concluded over 70 programs for NASA and over 50 other clients. For more information about SS visit

MEDIA CONTACT: or 720-407-3192

About Sierra Nevada Corporation

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is one of America's fastest growing private companies based on its significant expansion and reputation for rapid, innovative, and agile technology solutions in electronics, aerospace, avionics, space, propulsion, micro-satellite, aircraft, communications systems and solar energy. Under the leadership of CEO Fatih Ozmen and Chairman and President Eren Ozmen, SNC employs over 2,100 people in 31 locations in 16 states.  SNC's six unique business areas are dedicated to providing leading-edge solutions to SNC's dynamic customer base.

SNC is also the Top Woman-Owned Federal Contractor in the United States. Over the last 30 years under the Ozmen's leadership, SNC has remained focused on providing its customers the very best in diversified technologies to meet their needs and has a strong and proven track record of success. The company continues to focus its growth on the commercial sector through internal advancements and outside acquisitions, including the emerging markets of renewable energy, telemedicine, nanotechnology, cyber and net-centric operations. For more information on SNC visit

MEDIA CONTACT: or 775-331-0222