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SNC Dream Chaser (DC with a door?)

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Walk before you run.

Drop-glide tests first starting summer 2012, then a series where they drop then fire the engines to test its handling under power. Meanwhile they have to meet NASA's other milestones.

All this slowed by the fact that NASA only got $400m for commercial crew instead of the $800m they asked for. That money goes to each commercial crew team on completion of each milestone.

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NASA keeps getting less and less money, Wall Street gets more...sorry, don't mean to be negative, it's the Johnnie Walker talking, but really...these things should be obvious to the folks at DC!

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Aviation Week article mainly about the upcoming SpaceX Dragon flight, but it also says the first flight version Dream Chaser will be delivered this weekend in preparation for next summers test flights.

'>AvWeek....

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A few new tidbits among a few known ones -

Crew: 2-7

Cargo: up to 1,000 kg

Mission length: 210 days @ISS

Crew ground exit: overhead hatch

Docking: aft docking port

Engines: HTPB & nitrous oxide hybrid

Reaction control system: ethanol & nitrous oxide

Power: batteries w/trickle charge at ISS (upgradable to solar panels)

Launch escape: hybrid engines with runway landing. Last-ditch bailout through top hatch.

Landing speed: 191 knots

Cross-range: 1,000 km (off re-entry axis to runway) from anywhere in the orbital plane. Continental US landing within 6 hrs.

Partners: ULA, USA, Aerojet, NASA, Scaled, MDA, Boeing, Hamilton Sundstrand, Draper Lab, SAS and others.

Progress: 7 milestones to go before CCDev-3/CCiCap.

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Feb. 2, 2012

Candrea Thomas

Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

321-867-2468

candrea.k.thomas@nasa.gov

Cassie Kloberdanz

Sierra Nevada Corp.

720-407-3192

media.ssg@sncorp.com

RELEASE: 12-XXX

NASA'S COMMERCIAL CREW PARTNER SIERRA NEVADA DELIVERS FLIGHT TEST VEHICLE STRUCTURE

LOUISVILLE, Colo. -- One of NASA's industry partners, Sierra Nevada?Corp. (SNC), recently delivered the primary structure of its first?Dream Chaser flight test vehicle to the company's facility in?Louisville, Colo., where it will be assembled and integrated with?secondary systems. This is one of 12 milestones to be completed under?SNC's funded Space Act Agreement (SAA) with NASA's Commercial Crew?Program (CCP).

"It's rewarding to see our partner's ideas and concepts come to?fruition," said CCP Program Manager Ed Mango. "The company's delivery?of its flight structure will allow them to make more strides toward?launching NASA astronauts on American vehicles to the International?Space Station."

The Dream Chaser flight test vehicle, a full-scale prototype of the?

company's planned winged spacecraft, will be used to carry out?

several remaining NASA Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2)?milestones, including a captive carry flight and the first free?flight of the craft.

"SNC is proud to have met its schedule and cost targets in the?

delivery of our first flight structure as we continue to make?

preparations for our vehicle's first full-scale flight," said Mark?

Sirangelo, head of Sierra Nevada Space Systems. "The Dream Chaser?Program is making great strides toward developing a safe and?

cost-effective space system that will provide our country with the?

capability to safely transport crew and critical cargo to and from?

the International Space Station."

The all-composite structure was designed by the SNC team and built in?conjunction with SNC Dream Chaser team organizations AdamWorks of?Centennial, Colo., Applied Composite Technology of Gunnison, Utah,?and Scaled Composites of Mojave, Calif.

"Our team now includes more than a dozen heritage space companies and?seven NASA centers whose combined strength has continued to allow us?to exceed the program's expectations," said Jim Voss, SNC's vice?president for Space Exploration. Voss is a former space shuttle?astronaut and was a member of the second crew to live aboard the?International Space Station.

Dream Chaser's CCDev2 flight tests will be conducted with the?

assistance of NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards,?

Calif., under a Reimbursable Space Act Agreement (RSAA). During the?captive carry test, a Virgin Galactic While Knight 2 carrier aircraft?will drop the Dream Chaser flight test vehicle to measure its?performance. SNC flight operations will be managed by the program's?Director of Flight Operations Steve Lindsey, who joined the Dream?Chaser team in 2011. Lindsey is a veteran of five shuttle missions?and was chief of NASA's Astronaut Office from 2008 until his?retirement from the agency in 2011.

All of NASA's industry partners continue to meet their established?

milestones in developing commercial crew transportation capabilities?

that will ferry U.S. astronauts to and from the International Space?

Station, reducing the amount of time America is without its own?system.

For more information about NASA's Commercial Crew Program, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew?

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Very glad milestones are consistently being met, this is encouraging.

1 person likes this

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http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/commercial/crew/sierranevada_milestone.html

Sierra Nevada Delivers Flight Test Vehicle Structure

One of NASA's industry partners, Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC), recently delivered the primary structure of its first Dream Chaser flight test vehicle to the company's facility in Louisville, Colo., where it will be assembled and integrated with secondary systems. This is one of 12 milestones to be completed under SNC's funded Space Act Agreement (SAA) with NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP).

"It's rewarding to see our partner's ideas and concepts come to fruition," said CCP Program Manager Ed Mango. "The company's delivery of its flight structure will allow them to make more strides toward launching NASA astronauts on American vehicles to the International Space Station."

The Dream Chaser flight test vehicle, a full-scale prototype of the company's planned winged spacecraft, will be used to carry out several remaining NASA Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) milestones, including a captive carry flight and the first free flight of the craft.

"SNC is proud to have met its schedule and cost targets in the delivery of our first flight structure as we continue to make preparations for our vehicle's first full-scale flight," said Mark Sirangelo, head of Sierra Nevada Space Systems. "The Dream Chaser Program is making great strides toward developing a safe and cost-effective space system that will provide our country with the capability to safely transport crew and critical cargo to and from the International Space Station."

The all-composite structure was designed by the SNC team and built in conjunction with SNC Dream Chaser team organizations AdamWorks of Centennial, Colo., Applied Composite Technology of Gunnison, Utah, and Scaled Composites of Mojave, Calif.

"Our team now includes more than a dozen heritage space companies and seven NASA centers whose combined strength has continued to allow us to exceed the program's expectations," said Jim Voss, SNC's vice president for Space Exploration. Voss is a former space shuttle astronaut and was a member of the second crew to live aboard the International Space Station.

Dream Chaser's CCDev2 flight tests will be conducted with the assistance of NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif., under a Reimbursable Space Act Agreement (RSAA). During the captive carry test, a Virgin Galactic White Knight 2 carrier aircraft will drop the Dream Chaser flight test vehicle to measure its performance. SNC flight operations will be managed by the program's Director of Flight Operations Steve Lindsey, who joined the Dream Chaser team in 2011. Lindsey is a veteran of five shuttle missions and was chief of NASA's Astronaut Office from 2008 until his retirement from the agency in 2011.

All of NASA?s industry partners continue to meet their established milestones in developing commercial crew transportation capabilities that will ferry U.S. astronauts to and from the International Space Station reducing the amount of time America is without its own system.

Airframe (skin, airfoils, tiles etc. added over next 3 months)

dc-airframe-1.jpg

Dream Chaser as it will be drop-tested by VG's WhiteKnightTwo

dc-wk2.jpg

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That's a lot of talent and brain power going into this project, surprised we only have a shell/prototype so far

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Building an all composite prssure vessel for an orbital spacecraft is no trivial matter. Neither are the computational flow dynamics of launching a winged vehicle on top of a rocket without a fairing.

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Yes, but that's why layfolk like me have so much faith in scientists. I mean these guys were able to figure out nuclear power in like three decades, building one spaceplane shouldn't be.much of a challenge heheheh

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Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser update:

The DC will soon be shipped out for fit and captive carry tests with the Virgin Galactic White Knight Two "EVE" mothership. After these EVE tests DC will go home for final fitting of its flight hardware. Captive carry tests will happen from April to May 2012.

After the flight hardware is fit it's out to Edwards Air Force Base for EVE and DC to do drop tests; glides, landings, and flight envelope expansion. Drop tests look to happen in late summer 2012.

Picture dump (vidcaps): (bottom is without rear panels, tiles, nose or winglets)

dc-1.jpg

dc-2.jpg

dc-3.jpg

dc-4.jpg

dc-5.jpg

dc-fuselage.jpg

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Forgot to note it above: take a look at the artwork of DC landing and being towed on ghe runway - no nose wheel, it uses a skid like SS2.

Why? Weight and simplicity. Nose gear are complex, mostly metal and weigh hundreds of pounds, but a nose skid is simplicity itself and can be mostly composites. Important when it costs ~$5,000+ a pound to put something in orbit on an Atlas V.

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Aviation Week tweeted that Dream Chaser's first captive-carry flight will happen at the end of May!!

This will check out the White Knight 2 interface & clamps, how they fly together etc. It will likely do several of these before a drop, glide and landing flight.

Things must be going well as this caught a lot of people by surprise.

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hey that's awesome news, if you say it's earlier than expected. but what does captive carry mean exactly?

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White Knight 2 will carry it up and test their combined flight charistics, takeoff & landings, the connecting hardwares stability, etc. A few of those and drop-tests, glides, and landings under GPS auto-flight can happen. This because it's designed to also fly unmanned missions, so it lands like X-37B.

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First look at the final mold line - ISTM the winglets look a tad longer/thicker.

DC - wind tunnel.jpg

Sierra Nevada News & Press Releases

Sierra Nevada Corporation Completes Wind Tunnel Testing of The Dream Chaser Orbital Crew Vehicle at Texas A&M University

Sparks, NV – April 24, 2012 – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Space Systems has successfully completed wind tunnel testing of a scale model of the Dream Chaser® orbital crew vehicle in the Oran W. Nicks Low Speed Wind Tunnel at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. Aerodynamic data generated from this testing, coupled with data from computer simulations, will define the characteristics of the Dream Chaser® lifting body vehicle during the approach and landing phase of flight. This information will assist engineers in preparing for the Dream Chaser® vehicle’s first free flight test scheduled for the third quarter of this year.

“The Dream Chaser® Program thanks the Texas A&M wind tunnel team for their support of this testing, which produced results that exceeded our expectations. As the only lifting body vehicle currently funded by NASA under the Commercial Crew Development Program, we are thankful for the opportunity to verify our computational data in such an advanced facility. This is an important step in preparing for the vehicle's first free flight,” said Mark Sirangelo, Corporate Vice President of SNC's Space Systems.

"The Department of Aerospace Engineering has been privileged to work with high caliber engineers from Sierra Nevada Corporation Space Systems and to be part of the wind tunnel testing of the scale model of the Dream Chaser®," added Dr. Dimitris Lagoudas, head of the University's Department of Aerospace Engineering.

The Dream Chaser® team is proud to include several Texas A&M graduates. Dr. Merri Sanchez, Senior Director of Space Exploration Systems, and John Curry, Director of Systems Integration, Test, and Operations for the Dream Chaser® both attribute their success in advancing the field of human spaceflight to their experience as students at the University. "Texas A&M provided the foundation for us, as students, to excel in careers in aerospace engineering. We are proud to be working with the University on the Dream Chaser® Program, they are providing critical data that will inform the future of manned spaceflight," said Sanchez and Curry in a joint statement.

For more information on the Dream Chaser® Space System, please visit: http://www.SNCSpace.com

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3840X2160 rendering of Dream Chaser's final configuration, detailed enough to count the tiles. Shrink her down for a nice wallpaper.

Also. another presser from Sierra Nevada Corp. -

Sparks, NV ? April 26, 2012 ? Sierra Nevada Corporation?s (SNC) Space Systems has signed several Space Act Agreements (SAA) with NASA's Johnson Space Center dating back to May 2011 to assist in both the technical development of, and operations support for, the Dream Chaser? Space System. SNC has received funding awards from NASA in both rounds of the Commercial Crew Development Program and has chosen to re-invest capital back into the space agency through SAAs with individual Centers, including Houston's Johnson Space Center, to leverage NASA's experience and expertise in human spaceflight.

Johnson Space Center's Engineering and Mission Operations Directorates are currently receiving funding from SNC. These agreements include work in a variety of areas such as thermal protection and the use of the Christopher C. Kraft, Jr. Mission Control Center. Additional SAAs are being developed with several other Directorates within the Center.

?Thanks to the work of those at Johnson Space Center, America was able to put men on the moon and the International Space Station into orbit. As the Dream Chaser? Program develops a vehicle to backfill the capabilities of the Space Shuttle, it will not be without a significant contribution from the experts at Johnson Space Center,? explained Mark Sirangelo, Corporate Vice President of SNC's Space Systems.

Several SNC executives will visit the Houston area to participate in the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement (RNASA), where Sirangelo will be the keynote speaker for the prestigious event. ?We are investing in Houston. In 2011, SNC opened its Houston office and continues to create dynamic partnerships with the area's diverse aerospace industry, including the expansion of our investment in the Johnson Space Center,? said Sirangelo.

post-347280-0-40272800-1335621025_thumb.

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Daily Camera....

Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser spacecraft tested at Broomfield airport

Sierra Nevada Corp. today launched initial flight tests for the Dream Chaser, a spacecraft meant to transport crew and supplies to the International Space Station.

The tests took place this morning at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Broomfield, according to a news release from the company. Sierra Nevada is a private space technology company, which includes a branch in Louisville. The craft could be seen haning by a tether from a large helicopter.

The Dream Chaser Program is meant is to provide spaceflight capability by transporting up to seven crew members and cargo to and from the International Space Station, according to Sierra Nevada's Web site. The craft would be fully reusable.

Rocky Mountain Metro Airport director Kenny Maenpa said the full-scale flight test was conducted by tethering the Dream Chaser to a heavy-lift helicopter. The test was meant to check the craft's aerodynamic performance, he said.

?

The test is just one step in the Dream Chaser's development. The airport was chosen for the initial test, because of its nearness to Sierra Nevada's Louisville location, but there will not be further tests at the Rocky Mountain Airport site, Maenpa said."We're pleased and happy to make our land available for the test," he said.

?

Maenpa said the airport hopes to provide facilities for further commercial spaceflight projects.

"The governor has been supportive of this type of activity and dedicating Colorado as a place to go into the commercial space transport business," he said.

dctest1.jpg

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http://blogs.airspac...-for-new-space/

Sierra Nevada?s Dream Chaser, designed to ferry astronauts to and from the space station, had a good week. The lifting body mini-shuttle completed its first captive carry test on Tuesday (see video below), and the following day passed a key NASA design review. Sierra Nevada plans to begin approach-and-landing tests late this summer at Edwards Air Force Base in California, using an air-crane helicopter to drop the vehicle for free flights at progressively higher altitudes and speeds. The first two drop tests will be unpiloted, but the third will have a crew of two onboard, just as NASA?s Enterprise proto-space shuttle did in 1977. Bet on former NASA chief astronaut Steve Lindsey, who heads Dream Chaser?s test flight program, to make the first flight. Sierra Nevada?s Mark Sirangelo says the Dream Chaser remains on track to reach orbit (on top of an Atlas V rocket) ?within two to three years,? depending on NASA funds and timing.

post-347280-0-56295600-1338760048.jpg

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June 06, 2012

Trent J. Perrotto

Headquarters, Washington

202-358-0321

trent.j.perrotto@nasa.gov

Candrea Thomas

Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

321-867-2468

candrea.k.thomas@nasa.gov

Sierra Nevada Corporation Space Systems

720-407-3193

media.ssg@sncorp.com

RELEASE: 12-186

NASA PARTNER SIERRA NEVADA COMPLETES PRELIMINARY DESIGN REVIEW OF DREAM CHASER VEHICLE TO TRANSPORT ASTRONAUTS

LOUISVILLE, Colo. -- Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Space Systems has

successfully completed a preliminary design review (PDR) of the

design, architecture and performance of its Dream Chaser orbital crew

vehicle. This marks a new milestone in the company's effort to

develop transportation for astronauts to low Earth orbit and the

International Space Station.

SNC is one of several companies working to develop commercial crew

transportation capabilities under the Commercial Crew Development

Round 2 (CCDev2) agreement with NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP).

The goal is to help spur innovation and development of new spacecraft

and launch vehicles from the commercial industry to develop safe,

reliable and cost-effective capabilities to transport astronauts to

low Earth orbit and the space station. The Dream Chaser is designed

to carry as many as seven astronauts to space. It is the only

spacecraft under CCDev2 that uses wings and is designed to land on a

conventional runway.

"As CCP's partners meet these critical milestones, we are moving in

the right direction in our combined effort to advance commercial

capabilities that could eventually transport NASA astronauts," NASA

CCP Program Manager Ed Mango said.

This marks the 17th milestone to be completed by SNC during CCP's

initial two development phases. The PDR included a review of the

entire orbital flight program, including the Dream Chaser spacecraft,

and associated mission and ground systems. The company also reviewed

the spacecraft's compatibility with its initial launch vehicle, the

United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

"Our program includes 12 industrial partners, 7 NASA Centers and 3

universities from over 20 states who helped us achieve two major

program milestones this week. With the completion of PDR and the

beginning of our vehicle's flight test program, the Dream Chaser

Program has now entered the next phase of its development. We are

proud to be included with the other CCDev companies in developing a

US crew capability to low earth orbit," said Mark Sirangelo,

Corporate Vice President and head of SNC's Space Systems.

The final PDR board meeting was conducted shortly after the company

successfully completed a captive-carry test of its full-scale Dream

Chaser test flight vehicle May 29. The flight met all its test goals

and moved the program a step closer to preparing the vehicle for an

autonomous approach and landing test scheduled for later this summer.

All of NASA's industry partners, including SNC, continue to meet their

established milestones in developing commercial crew transportation

capabilities.

NASA also is developing the Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System

(SLS), a crew capsule and heavy-lift rocket that will provide an

entirely new capability for human exploration beyond low Earth orbit.

Designed to be flexible for launching spacecraft for crew and cargo

missions, SLS and Orion will expand human presence beyond low Earth

orbit and enable new missions of exploration across the solar system.

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Just a quock note -

At a recent panel discussion SNC announced that besides the glide tests this year (and within a few months) Dream Chaser will be put through a Pad Abort Test. In this a Dream Chasrr will be put atop a simulated launcher, likely just the upper stage, then a simulated launch failure will occur. Once this happens -

1) Dream Chaser will fire up its hybrid rockets at full throttle

2) the spacecraft-to-upper stage adapter cone will separate from both

3) DC will accelerate at 6-8 G's away from the pad until a safe distance is established

4) DC will perform a (likely power-on) turn back to KSC, then enter the glide slope for the old Shuttle runway and land

all of the above autonomousl - no pilot required..

Should be one helluva show :)

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sounds nice, in practical terms tho, how much closer is it to seeing her finally fly regularly?

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Sierra Nevada, not a small company, is putting a lot of skin in the game in addition to the $250M NASA is under CCiCAP and is estimating an orbital flight on an Atlas V around 2015. They definitely have a load of experience building spacecraft systems, and have partners that include Boeing's Skunk Works and other major contractors.

There are also persistent rumors of interest & potential participation by Virgin Galactic (orbital tourism) and the military. The military rumor is particularly interesting as DC meets most all of its requirements for an X-37B follow-on with manned capability.

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