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Dream Chaser spaceplane updates (thread 2)

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#76 OP DocM


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Posted 23 January 2014 - 22:48

The delays are because of Congress underfunding Commercial Crew milestone payments ($696m vs $821m requested for FY2014), and SNC only getting a 50% competitor share vs. 100% each for SpaceX and Boeing due to the FY2013 shortfall. NASA only had enough for 2 full shares and one half share. SpaceX and Boeing were further along, so....

SpaceX plans their first DragonRider flight for mid-2015. Using their own launcher gives them a big financial and logistical plus, and they've flown. Most analysts put them significantly ahead.

Boeing plans their first CST-100 flight for late 2015 to early 2016. I'd bet on the latter. Boeing has admitted they're having trouble closing the business case, largely due to the high cost of Atlas V HR. Since then they've been in touch with SpaceX about switching to Falcon 9 v1.1 after their 2 flight Atlas V HR obligation ends. The difference could be >$100m per launch.

#77 OP DocM


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Posted 17 March 2014 - 02:53

The new Dream Chaser team member is Teledyne Brown Engineering.

Dream Chaser will have 3 mission configurations, shown in the image at bottom.


Sierra Nevada Corporation Expands Work in Huntsville with 
Marshall Space Flight Center and Teledyne Brown Engineering for 
Dream Chaser Advanced Development Applications

Sparks, Nev., March 11, 2014 – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announces the expansion of its Dream Chaser® program team and scope of work in Huntsville, Ala., with the signing of a Space Act Agreement (SAA) Annex with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) and a Teaming Agreement with Teledyne Brown Engineering (TBE).

During today’s press conference at MSFC, Mark N. Sirangelo, corporate vice president and head of SNC’s Space Systems, presented details of the two new agreements that advance the Dream Chaser spacecraft to enable science payload operations and technology development in support of continued growth and utilization of space and the International Space Station (ISS). 

Sirangelo outlined the substantial contribution each partner will make towards the Dream Chaser Advanced Development program. Sirangelo stated, “Today we are pleased to announce that we are increasing our presence in Alabama by expanding our relationship with theMarshall Space Flight Center and adding Teledyne Brown Engineering to our growing Dream Chaser team. Each of these organizations provide experts in their respective fields and have already begun applying their invaluable knowledge and experience. We will work together to evaluate future low-Earth orbit (LEO) mission concepts for the Dream Chaser in the area of scientific payload operations with the goal of enhancing and enabling science in LEO. We are honored they are joining our already dynamic list of partners – our  “Dream Team” - which now includes over 15 companies, seven NASA centers and a growing list of universities.  The team spans more than 30 states and several countries with the common goal of furthering the development of the multi-mission Dream Chaser spacecraft.”

SNC’s Space System’s Advanced Development group is responsible for overseeing the multi-mission capability of the Dream Chaser spacecraft which includes crew-capable LEO servicing, science and transportation missions. The inherent capabilities of the reusable Dream Chaser lifting body spacecraft, as illustrated by its low-g reentry and runway landing, make it an ideal vehicle to support a variety of LEO missions.

SNC selected MSFC’s Mission Operations Laboratory (MOL), an authority in mission operations for science payloads aboard the ISS, to collaborate with SNC’s engineers to evaluate Design Reference Missions, operations planning, training and mission execution for utilizing the Dream Chaser as a platform to complement and support science being performed on the ISS. 

“We are glad to share the knowledge and expertise we’ve gained through our decades of experience with payload development for space shuttle missions and operating and maintaining science research on the International Space Station,” said Patrick Scheuermann, Marshall director. “We have enjoyed a successful partnership with Sierra Nevada Corporation for more than two years and look forward to continued collaboration.”

The MOL is run by a dedicated team of civil servants and experienced commercial contractors led by Teledyne Brown Engineering, a close partner to SNC. Under the Teaming Agreement, SNC and TBE are working together to evaluate strategic and technical partnership opportunities for the Dream Chaser Advanced Development team and other space systems collaborations.

“We are very pleased to team with Sierra Nevada Corporation in the development of the Dream Chaser,” said Rex D. Geveden, executive vice president, Teledyne Technologies Incorporated.  “This is an exceptional opportunity to apply our capabilities in payload development and integration to an exciting new space transportation system.”

SNC signed its first Space Act Agreement with NASA’s Marshall Center in 2012 leveraging MSFC’s expertise and resources to perform wind tunnel testing on various configurations of the Dream Chaser/United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch stack in MSFC’s trisonic wind tunnel lab. The data generated from the series of tests helped define the vehicles’ aerodynamic characteristics in flight.

SNC opened its Huntsville office on Perimeter Parkway in 2011 and occupies hangar space at the Huntsville airport. In addition to the many subcontracts supported throughout the state of Alabama, SNC operates three of its six business areas in Huntsville, including Communications, Navigation and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management, Integrated Mission Systems, and Space Systems, which leads its Dream Chaser thermal protection system development in Huntsville.


#78 OP DocM


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Posted 18 March 2014 - 14:07

From the European Space Agency (ESA) Bulletin #157, re: Dream Chaser

Sounds like they're serious about collaborating on a non-Russian space access option.


ESA - DC summary on page 67

Page 90....

International Berthing Docking Mechanism (IBDM)

The mechanical design of the IBDM data package continues. The avionic architecture definition has been completed and the new electro-mechanical actuators and the mechanism lock-down system have been tested. The Sierra Nevada Corporation confirmed their interest in the use of the IBDM on their Dream Chaser vehicle. Technical exchanges over the features of the IBDM and the main aspects of the mechanism to vehicle interface took place in December.
Operation Avionics Subsystem (OAS)

The SRR for the cockpit mock-up was performed on 15 November. A set of activities based on the work performed in the OAS was discussed with the Sierra Nevada Corp. for application in the development of Dream Chaser. These include cockpit layout definition, displays (based on X-38/CRV programmes), simulators, certification of software and electronic procedures.

#79 OP DocM


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Posted 27 March 2014 - 00:11

News report from Michoud, Louisiana, which is where Sierra Nevada and Lockheed Martin will be building the Dream Chaser spaceplane fleet,

#80 OP DocM


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Posted 07 April 2014 - 19:03

April 7, 2014

Houston Airport System and Sierra Nevada Corporation
to Host Media Panel at Rice University – Space Institute

Houston Airport System (HAS) and Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) will host a joint news conference to provide an update on plans to support the Houston Space Port. Media will have the opportunity to speak with HAS officials and SNC’s Dream Chaser® senior leadership, and learn about the potential benefits of any future partnership between HAS and SNC. The Dream Chaser spacecraft has the capability of landing on commercial runways virtually anywhere in the world.

Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 2 p.m. CDT

Rice University – Space Institute, Weiss School of Natural Sciences
Weiss School of Natural Sciences, 6100 Main St., Houston, Texas 77005


Mark N. Sirangelo, corporate vice president and head of SNC’s Space Systems
Mario Diaz, Aviation director for Houston Airport System
Arturo Machuca, manager business development of Houston Airport System
Dr. David Alexander, director of the Rice Space Institute

HAS and SNC are forming a committee to explore the possibilities associated with the Houston/Ellington Space Port. As plans for the Houston Space Port continue to take shape, identifying required facilities or capabilities to service commercial space vehicles is essential. This location is well placed to service the Houston business, science and research community, including continuing support for the International Space Station and new commercial space enterprise.

Media is invited to join leadership from both HAS and SNC to learn more about the future of commercial spaceflight and Houston’s evolving role.

All media planning to attend should contact David Falloure with Griffin Communications Group at David@GriffinCG.com no later than 4 p.m. CDT Tuesday, April 8, 2014.

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