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Posted 15 August 2011 - 16:04
Posted 15 August 2011 - 16:47
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.
Posted 15 August 2011 - 18:23
Posted 17 August 2011 - 13:38
Posted 17 August 2011 - 16:27
Posted 21 August 2011 - 05:32
Posted 23 August 2011 - 14:54
Posted 14 October 2011 - 04:26
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.
Posted 15 November 2011 - 06:15
Sierra Nevada Space Systems Completes Simulator and Avionics Laboratory Milestones for NASA's Commercial Crew Program
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). 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.
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.
Posted 20 November 2011 - 14:30
Posted 20 November 2011 - 14:50
Posted 22 November 2011 - 16:05
Posted 10 December 2011 - 13:52
Posted 27 January 2012 - 04:07
Posted 02 February 2012 - 14:47
Feb. 2, 2012
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Sierra Nevada Corp.
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: