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SNC Dream Chaser (DC with a door?)

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Posted

Starting off with a 5:38 interview with a Sierra Nevada type at the recent Space Symposium.

Dream Chaser is a 7 passenger spaceplane that's part of NASA's CCDev program and will be a player in commercial space programs. Very likely to be used by Virgin Galactic for its orbital missions as well.

[url=http://www.engineeringtv.com/video/The-Dream-Chaser-Shuttle-from-S/player?layout=&read_more=1]Video link....[/url]

(no, it won't work with the MEDIA tags)

[img]http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_4ify7vDXrDs/TTWsmKuu-KI/AAAAAAAAG6o/aJVOeIfjuQA/s640/Sierra+Nevada+Dream_Chaser.jpg[/img]

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Posted

Now that they have a CCDev 2 contract....

[url=http://procurement.ksc.nasa.gov/documents/NNK11MS01S_SAA-%20SNC_Redacted.pdf]NASA-SNC CCDev 2 contract (PDF)....[/url]

[url=http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=space&id=news/asd/2011/05/02/02.xml&headline=Sierra%20Nevada%20Details%20Drop%20Plan%20For%20Dream%20Chaser]Aviation Week article....[/url]

[quote][b]Sierra Nevada Details Drop Plan For Dream Chaser[/b]

LOS ANGELES

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Posted

why are they waiting a year? i don't understand why there's such a long lead time on these things...maybe i'm just naive.

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Posted

Lots of pieces from lots of places . DC being a spaceplane is a much more complex project than a capsule, even though it's limited to just Earth orbit.

The development team:

[img]http://www.parabolicarc.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/SNC_Team.jpg[/img]

[b]Sierra Nevada Corporation - [/b] Experienced space co. with projects from satellites to major parts of the Mars rovers. In addition to coordinating and managing the team, SNC will manage all internal systems, propulsion, structure, and launch vehicle.

[b]Adam Works -[/b] Aerospace composite structures. To assist SNC in structural fabrication using their combined composite manufacturing capabilities.

[b]Aerojet

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Posted

Celebrating Dream Chaser's predecessor the HL-20. Note the shots of the DC test craft under construction. Still hunting for the long version of this...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhAYlWdEC64

Sierra Nevada comments at the Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev-2) contract awards presser.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVTlktB2SPw

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Posted

Sierra Nevada Corp. has hired veteran NASA astronaut Steven W. Lindsey (USAF Ret) as the Director of Flight Operations for the Dream Chaser spaceplane project. As DoFO he will be responsible for activities related to flight testing, flight operations, and crew training,

Lindsey is the former Chief of NASA's Astronaut Office, which he ran for four years, and he is also a veteran of four shuttle missions - most recently as Commander of STS-133, the final flight of Discovery.

By hiring Lindsey they starting their astronaut corps with one of NASA's biggest guns.

[url=http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/lindsey.html]NASA bio....[/url]

[img]http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/images/shuttle/sts-121/med/jsc2005e21973.jpg[/img]

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Posted

SNC signs Space Act agreement with NASA.

This is similar to the one SoaceX, Orbital etc. have which gives them access to NASA's test facilities, technical know-how etc. to help speed Dream Chaser development. A definite sign that they're going to be accelerating their development.

Also interesting is that the Dream Chaser test article is nearing completion and drop tests are expected next year. SS2's WhiteKnightTwo carrier will be doing mothership duties.

http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2011/jul/HQ_11-221_Sierra_Space_Act.html

[quote]NASA Signs Commercial Space Agreement With Sierra Nevada

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Posted

[url=http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/07/07/7035032-nasa-to-host-next-gen-mini-shuttle]Cosmic Log had an interesting interview[/url] with SNC.

Mostly it covers their signing the Space Act Agreement with NASA that gives them access to their labs and facilities to speed Dream Chaser's development, but the 6PM update reveals some new info about launch sites etc. and that it can land most anywhere.

[quote]NASA's Kennedy Space Center signed a deal today to let Sierra Nevada Corp. use its facilities to develop and launch a mini-shuttle for servicing the International Space Station, beginning as early as 2015.

"This is a really great step toward a bright future for us," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said at the signing, which took place in the Florida space center's briefing room.
>
"We are going to transform human space flight for future generations," Cabana said.
>
[b]Update for 6 p.m. ET: [/b]

Sierra Nevada's Sirangelo discussed the deal in more depth with me during an interview this afternoon. Among other things, he told me that the Dream Chaser could be launched atop an Atlas 5 from California as well as from Florida, and it could land on any runway. [b]If it happened to land in California, or anyplace else, that's no big deal. "It returns home in a cargo plane," Sirangelo told me. The mini-shuttle is compact enough to fit within a C-5 transport plane, he noted.[/b]

He suggested that the Dream Chaser couldmtouch down in, say, Madison to deliver fresh experimental samples to a lab at the University of Wisconsin

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Posted

things are ramping up, we will have several successors to the shuttle in a couple of years at this rate, off to the moon by 2016-2017, Mars by 2020. bring in the Euros, Japanese, Russians and China and that schedule becomes guaranteed :cool:

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Posted

[url=http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/07/15/7084902-company-chases-nasas-dream]MSNBC Cosmic Log article....[/url]

They go into their relationship with Virgin Galactic, the possibility of suborbital and orbital passenger flights, non-NASA flights etc.

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Posted

[b]Sierra Nevada's Mark Sirangelo at NewSpace 2011 -[/b]

- Selected the Atlas V five years ago. First company to work with ULA on Commercial Crew.
- (Atlas V) Will have launched over 40 times by the time Dream Chaser flies on it.
- First full sized structural vehicle and other hardware well into production.
- Completely tested the flight motors.
- Don't need a separate abort system; uses the same rockets for vehicle propulsion as for abort.
- Will have power to select runway.
- Can always fine a runway to land from launch to orbit and back.
- Built a large scale model and flew it from 14k feet several times.
- Built and tested a full scale cockpit flight simulator

[b]Q&A:[/b]

- Contacted some of the engineers who worked on the (Russian) BOR-4, which was reversed engineered by NASA for the HL-20.
- Smaller version of the SS2 motors. Slightly bigger than the SS1 motors. Same technologies. (Sierra Nevada makes them)
- Highly reusable. Don't know turnaround times yet.
- No toxic fuels on board. Use ethanol/liquid oxygen thrusters (Shuttle used toxic hypergolic fuels)
- Lifting body came out of study of many vehicle designs.
-- Needed a utilitarian vehicle with as many possible uses as possible.
-- Can be all crew or all cargo and can run autonomously on orbit for months at a time (indicates full robotic mode)
-- Can run servicing missions (implies a robotic arm option from Canada's MDA - makers of Shuttle's CanadArm)
-- Number of different markets and lifting body fits well with all of them.
-- Less than 2 G's on reentry
-- Can go right up to vehicle after landing (because of non-toxic fuels).
- Worked with NASA Ames for TPS (thermal protection system - heat shield). Think it can last multiple-missions
-- Remove in large areas rather than tile by tile.
- How many flights for ROI? - As many flights as possible!
-- Expect 25-50 flights per vehicle. Should provide sufficient return.
- Studies showed it doesn't need to be shrouded (no launch fairing surrounding the vehicle).
- Not looking at building a reusable launcher. Not Sierra's expertise. Can launch on someone else's reusable booster

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Posted

CBS News story on Commercial Crew, heavy on Dream Chaser.

They disabled embedding, so here's the direct link....

http://youtu.be/gmpUbXQpvuI

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Posted

[B]Major update[/B]

First two videos - [I]Save As[/I] should work....

[URL="http://www.spacedev.com/viewer/video/DC_CCDev_conops.wmv"]Dream Chaser ConOps[/URL] (silent launch -> landing animation - WMV)

[URL="http://www.spacedev.com/viewer/video/DC_CCDev_accomplishments_web.wmv"]CCDev progress summary/promo[/URL] (lots of cool stuff - look closely - WMV)

And the basic Dream Chaser PDF brochure. Not fancy, but still -

[url]http://www.spacedev.com/uploads/brochures/Dream_Chaser.pdf[/url]

Also find links to 2048x CG renderings showing hatch locations, thermal tile layouts - hell, rivets. Two 2048x photos show photos of the engine test and the engineering test article they used for loads testing at Boeing's Phantom Works. I suggest [I]Save As[/I]'ing these.

[url=http://digitalvideo.8m.net/sierranevada/Docking2048.jpg]Docking....[/url]
[url=http://digitalvideo.8m.net/sierranevada/Landing2048.jpg]Landing....[/url]
[url=http://digitalvideo.8m.net/sierranevada/TestArticle2048.jpg]Test article....[/url]
[url=http://digitalvideo.8m.net/sierranevada/EngineFire2048.jpg]Engine fire....[/url]

Finally: the update text -

[QUOTE]SNC

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Posted

New image has appeared that seems to show a Dream Chaser customized for doing satellite servicing missions, something Sierra Nevada brought up last week.

[img]http://digitalvideo.8m.net/sierranevada/dc-doors.jpg[/img]

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Posted

nice, looks a lot like the shuttle, only i assume more high tech? no more 1970's IBM computers with a massive 1MB or RAM?

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Posted

Dream Chaser is very high tech.

The life support system is tiny compared to most spacefraft, and the computers modern. By using composite structures it's also very light and the rockets & thrusters use non-toxic fuels vs. the Shuttles hypergolics.

A much different kind of bird.

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Posted

[quote name='DocM' timestamp='1313424269' post='594235626']
Dream Chaser is very high tech.

The life support system is tiny compared to most spacefraft, and the computers modern. By using composite structures it's also very light and the rockets & thrusters use non-toxic fuels vs. the Shuttles hypergolics.

A much different kind of bird.
[/quote]

I didn't know the old shuttles engines were using a toxic fuel. I knew the much popularised thing about the engines used to launch the shuttle in to space only producing water but they keep that other bit of the press :)
Very interesting thanks, I learned something interesting and new today

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Posted

The Shuttle attitude thrusters and orbital maneuvering engines used Monomethylhydrazine (MMH) + nitrogen tetroxide - very nasty and toxic stuff. It requires very special handling, and after a shuttle labding they can't go near it (or the crew depart) until the vapors dissipate - sometimes hours.

The Shuttle main engines produced steam (fuel: liquid hydrogen & liquid oxygen) and unburned hydrogen gas.

The SRB's produced a cloud of hydrochloric acid, aluminum dioxide and a bunch of burned rubber type particulates and unused oxidizer - ammonium perchlorate. Can't go near the pad for at least 2-3 hours. SRB fuel matrix breaks down like this -

Ammonium Perchlorate (Oxidizer, 69.6% by weight),
Aluminum (Powdered fuel, 16%),
Iron Oxide (Catalyst, .04%),
Polybutadiene acrylonitrile (PBAN) (Binder, 12.04%)
Epoxy (1.96%)

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Posted

why did they use all that stuff for so many years when clearly cleaner tech was available? was it for money reasons?

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Posted

The original SRB contractor, Alliant Techsystems (ATK) has a lot of political friends in and out of Congress. They make solid rockets for the military and so are connected - deeply.

Attempts to switch to luquid or hybrid side boosters were killed, and when it became clear shuttle was ending ATK pushed a "Shuttle Derived" system as a follow-on, meaning a system thst would continue to use the SRB's in some form. This continues as part of the Space Launch System concept, even though liquid launchers like Atlas V, Falcon 9/FH etc. are fully capable and cheaper.

Fortunately the funding squeeze is causing even their friends to think again, so maybe there's jope,

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Posted

Readiness of a new cockpit simulator for Dream Chaser is verified and is now being used for engineering development tests. The wing-tip fin airfoil design was also selected, so construction of a flight test unit can be completed.

Attached is a pic of Dream Chaser's cockpit simulator. Looks like they went all digital.

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Posted

nice looking cockpit, cool screens and none of the knobs you used to get with older planes. as for the fuels, if we can regulate fuel used on Earth we should be able to regulate the fuel used in launches to space. i don't like it when space is treated as some exotic industry, and thus is believed not subject to regulation.

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Posted

Drop glide tests in summer 2012 first now that funding is approved, suborbital later then a full up launch on an Atlas V - supposedly 2014-2015. Construction on the first bird is underway now.

[url=http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/11/us-space-taxi-idUSTRE79A63J20111011]Reuters....[/url]

[quote]CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - A seven-seat space taxi backed by NASA to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station will make a high-altitude test flight next summer, officials said on Tuesday.

Sierra Nevada Corp's "Dream Chaser" space plane, which resembles a miniature space shuttle, is one of four space taxis being developed by private industry with backing from the U.S. government.

For the unmanned test flight, it will be carried into the skies by WhiteKnightTwo, the carrier aircraft for the commercial suborbital passenger ship SpaceShipTwo, backed by Virgin Galactic, a U.S. company owned by Richard Branson's London-based Virgin Group.

The test flight was added after privately held Sierra Nevada got a $25.6-million boost to its existing $80 million contract with NASA.

The test flight will take place from either Edwards Air Force Base in California's Mojave Desert, or from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, Ed Mango, manager of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, said at a community briefing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

With the retirement of the space shuttles this summer, NASA is now dependent on Russia to fly astronauts to the space station, at a cost of more than $50 million per person.

The agency hopes to turn over crew transportation services to one or more commercial firms before the end of 2016, Mango said.

In addition to Sierra Nevada, NASA is funding spaceship development work at Boeing Co, Space Exploration Technologies, and Blue Origin, a start-up firm owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

"Having only one way to get crew to the station is a limitation," NASA astronaut Mike Fossum, who is currently living aboard the outpost, said during an in-flight interview last week.

The station, a $100 billion project of 16 nations, was finished this year after more than a decade of construction 225 miles above the planet. The outpost, which is about the size of a five-bedroom house, supports a variety of scientific research and technology demonstrations.

Along with helping to develop commercial space taxis, NASA is working on a heavy-lift rocket and capsule to fly astronauts and cargo to asteroids, the moon, Mars and other destinations beyond the space station's orbit.

Drawing heavily on equipment originally built for predecessor programs, including the space shuttle and the canceled Constellation moon exploration initiative, the new rocket, called the Space Launch System or SLS, is scheduled to debut in 2017.

That unmanned test flight would be followed in 2021 by a trial run with astronauts, said Kennedy Space Center director Bob Cabana.[/quote]

[img]http://27.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lfnipms7vA1qfi928o1_500.jpg[/img]

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Posted

Cockpit & simulator has passed its NASA milestone approval

http://www.sncorp.com/press_more_info.php?id=467

[quote][b]Sierra Nevada Space Systems Completes Simulator and Avionics Laboratory Milestones for NASA's Commercial Crew Program[/b]

Sierra Nevada Corporation's (SNC) Space Systems announces the completion of additional Dream Chaser Space System Milestones under NASA's Commercial Crew Development Phase 2 (CCDev2) Program. SNC is leading a team of industry partners, universities, and NASA Centers to develop a low-cost space system that will provide NASA with the capability to safely transport crew and cargo to and from the International Space Station (ISS). [i][b]To date, SNC has completed five of thirteen Milestones under the CCDev2 Program, all on time and on budget. The Program is on schedule to culminate in a high-altitude flight test of the Dream Chaser crew vehicle in the summer of 2012.[/b][/i]

In July, the Dream Chaser Program completed a CCDev2 Milestone with a demonstration of the Dream Chaser Cockpit Based Simulator. The simulator, which consists of both a physical cockpit layout and integrated simulation hardware and software, assists Dream Chaser engineers in evaluating the vehicle's characteristics during the piloted phases of flight.

The following CCDev2 Milestone was the Dream Chaser Program's Vehicle Avionics Integration Laboratory (VAIL), activated in September. VAIL is a platform for Dream Chaser avionics development, engineering testing, and integration, and will also be used for verification and validation of avionics and software. The lab is linked to the Cockpit Based Simulator hardware and software for integrated system testing.

Jim Voss, Vice President of SNC's Space Exploration Systems said, "The Dream Chaser team, which includes SNC as well as our industry teammates and our NASA partners, has made tremendous progress over the last four months. Our simulator and avionics lab give us the ability to do engineering evaluations of our complex systems. These successful Milestones, completed on time and within budget, reflect the rapid progress possible in the NASA Commercial Crew Program."

The Dream Chaser team is on schedule to achieve all CCDev2 Milestones as well as complete additional tasks to further advance the development of the space system. In addition to the high-altitude flight test, the Dream Chaser Program will conduct a system-level Preliminary Design Review (PDR) before the end of CCDev2. Through the development of the Dream Chaser Space System, SNC is positioned to quickly restore U.S. capability to safely transport humans and cargo to and from the ISS and return them safely to Earth.
>[/quote]

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Posted

good news, this is shaping up to be a very interesting platform. why wait till 2014 for the Atlas launch?

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