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NASA clears Dream Chaser spaceplane for full production

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Old March 29th 19, 04:00 PM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
Larry Dighera
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Default NASA clears Dream Chaser spaceplane for full production

Dream Chaser® Space Vehicle
The Dream Chaser spacecraft is a multi-mission space utility vehicle
designed for transporting crew and cargo to low-Earth orbit (LEO)
destinations such as the International Space Station scheduled for
first launch in 2021.


NASA clears Dream Chaser spaceplane for full production

Nick Lavars

December 30th, 2018

NASA has given the Dream Chaser spaceplane the all clear for
full-scale production(Credit: NASA)

Sierra Nevada Corporation is picking up the pace in its mission to
carry cargo to and from the International Space Station using a
next-generation spaceplane, with NASA giving its Dream Chaser vehicle
the all clear following a design and performance review. This means
the vehicle will now move into full production, with the developers
hopeful of using it to ship goods to the orbiting laboratory within
two years.

The development of the Dream Chaser space plane has been pretty
eventful so far, with its first ever glide and test flight leaving the
spacecraft upside down
on the airstrip after its landing gear failed to deploy correctly.
This led to a total refurbishment of the unmanned, reusable orbital
vehicle, and then its first successful glide flight and landing in
November 2017, some four years later.

NASA awarded
Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser one of three private contracts to deliver
cargo to the ISS in 2016, with SpaceX's Dragon
https://newatlas.com/tag/dragon/ and Orbital ATK's Cygnus
https://newatlas.com/tag/cygnus/ the other two recipients. Under
NASA's CRS-2 contract the Dream Chaser will carry out at least six
missions to the ISS, but it will work a little differently to its two
fellow awardees.

The Dream Chaser is the only spacecraft of the three that is capable
of runway landings, and is, at least theoretically, able to land at
any large-scale commercial airport in the world. This particular
capability has seen the Dream Chaser project draw strong interest from
other space organizations, along with the UN.

Designed to be optionally piloted with autonomous launch, flight and
landing capabilities, each Dream Chaser spaceplane is expected to be
reused at least 15 times and be able to carry 5,500 kg (12,100 lb) of
cargo to the space station each time. This could be basic but
essential supplies like food and water, along with more delicate loads
such as scientific samples. It can also retrieve up to 3,400 kg (
around 7,400 lb) of waste from the space station each time it departs
before disposing of it by burning it up in the atmosphere.

Artist's concept of the Dream Chaser cargo module docked with the ISS
As part of its preparation for these journeys, NASA's Integration
Review 4 (IR4) had experts from the space agency and Sierra Nevada
take a comprehensive look at the Dream Chaser design and how it
performs with various components integrated into the vehicle. This led
them to conclude that the space plane was ready to move into
full-scale production.

"We are one step closer to the Dream Chaser spacecraft's first orbital
flight," says Sierra Nevada CEO Fatih Ozmen. "This comprehensive
review approved moving the Dream Chaser program into the production
phase so we can get Dream Chaser to market as a critical space station
resupply spacecraft as soon as possible. IR4 was a series of reviews,
documentation, and data deliverables that are the culmination of many
years of design work, analysis and development testing."

According to Sierra Nevada, a lot of the various components of the
orbital vehicle have already been built, such as the thermal
protection system tiles and avionics hardware, and the NASA approval
now clears the way for these to be integrated into the vehicle at the
company's facility in Louisville. Now moving onto full-scale
production of the uncrewed Dream Chaser Plane and its cargo module,
the company expects the spacecraft to start servicing the ISS in late

Source: Sierra Nevada:


Ground and Flight Operations Enabled, First Flight in 2021

SPARKS, Nev., March 21, 2019 – Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Dream
Chaser spacecraft passed NASA’s Integrated Review Milestone 5 (IR5), a
key status check on SNC’s performance of a variety of ground and
flight operations.

IR5 demonstrates that the Dream Chaser team is on track to operate the
space vehicle in advance of the first mission to the International
Space Station under the Commercial Resupply Services Contract 2

“This milestone is a great accomplishment for the team focused on
operations development and demonstration. It shows we can operate the
Dream Chaser from the ground, including getting critical science in
and out of the vehicle,” said John Curry, CRS-2 program director
within SNC’s Space Systems business area.

The review included development of the vehicle’s flight computers and
software, mission simulator and Mission Control Center. SNC also
performed cargo demonstrations using high fidelity mock-ups of the
vehicle and its cargo module, showing loading and unloading time and

Milestone testing took place at SNC’s Louisville, Colorado and NASA
Kennedy Space Center facilities. Data was also used from the Dream
Chaser 2017 free-flight test at Edwards Air Force Base, California,
with the help of NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center.

“Our Dream Chaser team continues to successfully execute milestones as
we move closer to getting this spacecraft into space,” said Fatih
Ozmen, SNC’s owner and CEO. “The orbital spacecraft is being built
and this milestone demonstrates the vehicle keeps passing key reviews
and is making great strides.”

Dream Chaser continues to meet technical and scheduled milestones on
its way to first flight in spring 2021. The Dream Chaser will conduct
at least six orbiting flights to the space station, delivering
equipment and supplies to advance space exploration and then safely
return life science and other time-critical items on a conventional

About Dream Chaser Spacecraft
Owned and operated by SNC, the Dream Chaser spacecraft is a reusable,
multi-mission space utility vehicle. It is capable of transportation
services to and from low-Earth orbit and is the only commercial,
lifting-body vehicle capable of a runway landing. The Dream Chaser
Cargo System was selected by NASA to provide cargo delivery and
disposal services to the International Space Station under the
Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contract. All Dream Chaser
CRS-2 cargo missions are planned to land at Kennedy Space Center’s
Shuttle Landing Facility.

About Sierra Nevada Corporation
Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is a trusted leader in solving the
world’s toughest challenges through advanced engineering technologies
in Space Systems, Commercial Solutions, and National Security and
Defense. Honored as one of the most innovative U.S. companies in
space, SNC’s Space Systems business area designs and manufactures
advanced spacecraft and satellite solutions, space habitats and
environmental systems, propulsion systems, precision space mechanisms
and subsystems, and SNC’s celebrated Dream Chaser® spacecraft. With
decades of space heritage working with the U.S. government, commercial
customers, and the international market, SNC has participated in more
than 450 successful space missions and delivered 4,000+ systems,
subsystems and components around the world. For more information,
visit www.sncorp.com.


SNC Dream Chaser passes NASA Milestone 5
Dream Chaser engineer Liz Antognoli works on the payload mock-up
demonstration. Click to open full-resolution image in new window.


Video: https://vimeo.com/199209876

About Dream Chaser
SNC's Dream Chaser® spacecraft is a multi-mission space utility
vehicle designed for transporting crew and cargo to low-Earth orbit
(LEO) destinations such as the International Space Station.

Our Dream Chaser spacecraft was selected by NASA to provide cargo
delivery, return and disposal service for the space station under the
Commercial Resupply Service 2 (CRS-2) contract. Dream Chaser will
carry critical supplies like food, water, and science experiments and
returns to Earth with a gentle runway landing. The spacecraft will
provide a minimum of six cargo missions to and from the space station
starting in late 2020.


Dream Chaser 5 | Sierra Nevada Corporation
Dream Chaser 6 | Sierra Nevada Corporation
Dream Chaser 1 | Sierra Nevada Corporation
Dream Chaser 2 | Sierra Nevada Corporation
Dream Chaser 3 | Sierra Nevada Corporation
Dream Chaser 4 | Sierra Nevada Corporation
Dream Chaser 5 | Sierra Nevada Corporation
Dream Chaser 6 | Sierra Nevada Corporation
Dream Chaser 1 | Sierra Nevada Corporation
Dream Chaser 2 | Sierra Nevada Corporation

Cargo System (Uncrewed)
Dream Chaser Spacecraft Cargo System

NASA selected our Dream Chaser spacecraft to provide cargo delivery,
return and disposal services for the International Space Station.
Under the Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contract, Dream
Chaser will provide a minimum of six cargo service missions to and
from the space station starting in late 2020.

The Dream Chaser cargo system is designed to deliver up to 5,500 kg of
pressurized and unpressurized cargo to the space station, including
food, water, supplies and science experiments. The Dream Chaser can
gently return critical cargo with a runway landing at less than 1.5
g’s. After leaving the space station, the Dream Chaser can also
dispose of trash. The vehicle is designed for high reusability,
reducing overall cost and a quick turnaround between missions. The
ability to launch on top of multiple launch vehicles and land at a
wide variety of runways makes Dream Chaser a flexible option for
reliable transportation.

Dream Chaser Cargo System Specific Features Include:
Disposable cargo module that attaches to the Dream Chaser vehicle,
greatly increasing the amount pressurized and unpressurized cargo that
can be carried
Ability to do both disposal and pressurized cargo return on every
Innovative folding-wing design allowing the uncrewed Dream Chaser
spacecraft to fit inside existing standard launch vehicle fairings,
making it compatible with a suite of current and future launch
Solar arrays on the cargo module increase flight time in space and
support powered payloads
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Who manufactures the Dream Chaser spacecraft and where is it built?
What does it mean to say Dream Chaser is a “lifting-body” spacecraft
and how is that advantageous?
What are the benefits of landing the Dream Chaser spacecraft on
suitable runways?
How many G’s will Dream Chaser encounter upon atmospheric return?
How many times can Dream Chaser be reused?
Will Dream Chaser be capable of going farther than low-Earth orbit?
How does Dream Chaser compare with the Space Shuttle?
Associated Business Areas & Subsidiaries
Business Area Space Systems

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