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When Elon Musk's "Saturday Night Live" appearance is over, the individual segments from the show will be posted on Alphabet's (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) YouTube platform on May 9. And once they go up on YouTube, a competitor of the Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) technoking's SpaceX will be hitching its wagon to Musk's comedy star.
What Happened: The privately-held Sierra Nevada Corporation has produced two advertisements for Sierra Space, the company's aerospace division that is being repositioned as a standalone entity beginning June 1. The advertisements are designed as pre-rolls to the Musk segments on the "SNL" YouTube channel.
One of the ads is a 15-second production depicting Dream Chaser, Sierra Nevada's reusable lifting-body spaceplane. The other is a 30-second spot that offers an animated consideration of Dream Chaser's potential role in space exploration while offering a depiction of the company's proposed Large Integrated Flexible Environment expandable space habitat.
According to Brooke Hart, Sierra Nevada's vice president of communications, the advertisement placement is not designed to steal Musk's thunder, but rather to show its appreciation for his efforts to bring new attention to the aerospace industry.
"We have huge respect and admiration for the fact that Elon Musk is not only doing live television, but he's doing comedy," she said. "And we just think that's a testament to his courage. We've seen that when it comes to commercial space and his other entrepreneurial ventures, but this is like next-level courage.
"Elon's appearing on ‘SNL' is the next proof point that space is relevant to all of us. Our economy and our security are dependent on all of this activity in space."
The two YouTube commercials mark the first time that the company has produced video advertising — Hart noted that Sierra Nevada has done minimal advertising before, and never in such a broad consumer-facing manner as the YouTube advertisements.
"We're a technology company and we don't sell to consumers," she said. "And so, it hasn't been in our DNA to present ourselves. This just seemed like a fun opportunity because Elon is stepping out on such a public stage for us to celebrate that moment."
Landing A Deal: Earlier this week, while Musk was rehearsing for his late-night comedy shenanigans, Sierra Nevada signed a "use agreement" with Space Florida to land Dream Chaser at the Kennedy Space Center's Launch and Landing Facility.
The facility, which includes a 2.83-mile runway, was used for 78 NASA space shuttle missions between 1981 to 2011. Sierra Space plans to launch the first cargo flight of Dream Chaser in 2022 for a resupply mission to the International Space Center.
"We would love to have a fleet of Dream Chasers and have to have them land all over the world," Hart added.
According to a report in the trade journal SpaceNews, the company's space business generates $400 million in annual revenue, and the spinoff of Sierra Space is projected to grow that revenue stream to $4 billion within the next 10 years.
(Photo: Screenshot from Sierra Nevada Corporation's new YouTube advertisement.)
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