Colorado's Sierra Nevada Corporation is one step closer to 2016 launch of Dream Chaser spacecraft

SPARKS, Nev. - A Colorado company developing a spacecraft to take astronauts to the International Space Station is another step closer to a November 2016 launch.

Sierra Nevada Corp.'s Space Systems of Louisville is partnering with Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. to help build the Dream Chaser spacecraft.

Friday, Lockheed Martin unveiled the orbital spacecraft composite airframe -- the composite outer shell.

The structure will be used to conduct the first orbital launch of the Dream Chaser spacecraft in November 2016, atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

"We competitively chose Lockheed Martin because they are a world leader in composite manufacturing, have the infrastructure, resources and quality control needed to support the needs of an orbital vehicle and have a proven track record of leading our nation’s top aviation and aerospace programs," said Mark N. Sirangelo, corporate vice president of SNC’s Space Systems.

Upon completion of manufacturing in New Orleans and Fort Worth, Lockheed Martin will transport the Dream Chaser airframe to SNC’s Louisville facility for final integration and assembly.

-- Testing Dream Chaser --

Officials have been testing the Dream Chaser spacecraft at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base.

The vehicle is designed to carry seven people and land like a plane on a runway.

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