SNC'S Hybrid Rocket Technology Successfully Powers Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Flight for the Third Time

Sparks, Nev., January 10, 2014 – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) congratulates Virgin Galacticon its third successful powered test flight of SpaceShipTwo (SS2), the world’s first commercial space tourism vehicle. Once again, SNC provided the safe, non-toxic, hybrid rocket propulsion system for Virgin Galactic’s test.

During today’s test at Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, Calif., SS2 was released from the carrier aircraft, WhiteKnightTwo, upon reaching an altitude of 46,000 feet. The SS2 pilots triggered ignition of the SNC hybrid rocket motor, propelling SS2 to a maximum altitude of 71,000 feet and achieving Mach 1.4.  The vehicle achieved its test flight objectives and returned home safely.

SNC’s hybrid rocket system has propelled all Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo powered flights to date. 

“With three successful crewed test flights  completed as planned for Virgin Galactic, our rocket engine technology continues to demonstrate its excellence in terms of safety, performance and reliability,” said Mark Sirangelo, corporate vice president and head of SNC’s Space Systems. “Today’s test provides another confirmation that our propulsion motor technology is reliable and repeatable.  To date, SNC has performed more than 70 hot fire tests of this rocket motor technology.”

SNC’s patented hybrid rocket systems offer a safe, high-performing and non-toxic alternative to solid and hydrazine liquid propulsion systems.  The rocket motor fuel requires no special handling or transportation, greatly increasing safety while reducing lifecycle cost to customers.

In addition to the hybrid engine technology, SNC also manufactures other key propulsion subsystems on the SS2 vehicle, including the main oxidizer valve and the nitrous oxide release and control systems. The manufacturing of these motors and subsystem are performed at SNC’s Poway, Calif., facility. 

About Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems

Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems business area based in Louisville, Colo., 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’s Space Systems has more than 25 years of space heritage and has participated in over 400 successful space missions through the delivery of over 4,000 systems, subsystems and components.  During its history, SNC’s Space Systems has concluded over 70 programs for NASA and over 50 other clients. For more information about SNC’s Space Systems visit

Media Contact: or Krystal Scordo at 720-407-3192.

About Sierra Nevada Corporation

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), headquartered in Sparks, Nev., 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 President Eren Ozmen, SNC has a workforce of over 3,000 personnel in 30 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