Employee Spotlight: Meet Dream Chaser® Spaceplane Liaison Engineer Jack S.
May 19, 2020
With a goal to start his career working on a commercial space program, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and its Dream Chaser® spaceplane team fit the bill for liaison engineer, Jack S. As a liaison engineer, he gets to jump around and fill a lot of shoes.
We caught up with Jack to learn how he’s contributing to getting Dream Chaser built for its first mission and how his passion for photography is becoming beneficial on SNC’s production floor.
What drew you to working at SNC?
I was fortunate enough to become involved with Colorado’s expansive space industry while getting my education at CU Boulder. After graduation, I wanted to stick around the area and pursue a career in the field. I was (and still am) passionate about commercial space, so while nearly every other major company was primarily concerned with national defense, SNC’s Dream Chaser program was unique.
You’re a liaison engineer; explain what that means.
I directly support Dream Chaser production, so I get to jump around a lot. A good portion of my day is spent among design, manufacturing, and quality engineers before translating their ideas and concerns into something our technicians, management, and marketing teams can digest.
One of the benefits of my job is that my proximity to Dream Chaser provides an opportunity to get hands on with hardware and I have been encouraged to leverage that position to take photographs for the build.
Quite a few of your pictures have been used in recent press releases and social media posts.
I’ve been doing photography personally since college. It has always been a hobby of mine, and a coworker of mine knew that, so he put me in charge of buying a new camera to take pictures of some testing. The camera had been floated around the group for a while, but since the primary structure for Dream Chaser arrived in October, I’ve been shooting more frequently. More recently, I’ve been grateful to see my photography gaining traction across internal presentations, our social media platforms, and directly with NASA.
(Recent photos captured by Jack)
Any major highlights working on the Dream Chaser team over the past few years?
A few stand out!
During my first three years at the company, I worked on our primary structure with a close knit group of designers and analysts, so the day it was delivered was a huge milestone!
One of the best experiences during that time was getting to visit the facility where the primary structure was built. I provided design support and also got to assist its assembly.
Why is space exploration so important to you?
The most compelling reason I find space exploration important these days is the fact that no individual contributor can solve these problems alone and demands a work environment that’s filled with both creativity and collaboration. I think our pursuit of space exploration purely for the sake of satisfying our sense of wonder and curiosity is an opportunity of the highest luxury and value.