LOUISVILLE - Sierra Nevada Corp. on Tuesday announced an expanded collaboration with NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama as the company gears up for the first orbital launch of its Dream Chaser spacecraft in 2016.

Sierra Nevada, which has its Space Systems division based in Louisville, also on Tuesday said it has signed an agreement to work with Teledyne Brown Engineering in conjunction with the deal with the MSFC.

The new arrangements will assist in Dream Chaser's Advanced Development program, which oversees the multimission capability of Dream Chaser, a spacecraft touted by SNC as ideal for a variety of uses in low-Earth orbit. SNC Space Systems head Mark Sirangelo said the relationships with the MSFC and Teledyne Brown will advance Dream Chaser's goal of enabling science payload operations and technology development in support of the International Space Station.

Sirangelo said the teams work together to evaluate future low-Earth orbit mission concepts for the Dream Chaser in the area of scientific payload operations with the goal of enhancing and enabling science in those orbits.

The new agreement with MSFC isn't SNC's first with the facility. SNC signed a Space Act Agreement with MSFC in 2012 to use wind-tunnel testing on various configurations of Dream Chaser's launch stack aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

The new collaboration will be done at the MSFC's Mission Operations Laboratory, which is run by civil servants and commercial contractors led by Teledyne Brown.

SNC announced in January that the first orbital flight of Dream Chaser will launch Nov. 1, 2016 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The composite shell of the Dream Chaser vehicle that will make the first trip to space is being built in Louisiana by Lockheed Martin, while various systems and components continue to be built in Louisville. The 2016 flight will be autonomous, with the first manned flight scheduled for 2017.

That announcement followed a successful October flight test of a Dream Chaser test vehicle in California. That vehicle, which is being outfitted for further test flights this year, was built in Louisville.