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SNC Dream Chaser (DC with a door?)

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#46 OP DocM


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Posted 03 June 2012 - 21:45


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.

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#47 OP DocM


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Posted 06 June 2012 - 17:40

June 06, 2012

Trent J. Perrotto
Headquarters, Washington

Candrea Thomas
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Sierra Nevada Corporation Space Systems

RELEASE: 12-186


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

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.

#48 OP DocM


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Posted 06 October 2012 - 15:33

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 :)

#49 neoadorable


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Posted 07 October 2012 - 13:20

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

#50 OP DocM


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Posted 07 October 2012 - 15:17

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.

#51 OP DocM


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Posted 31 October 2012 - 17:03

This is an interesting article on how DC's flight simulator was developed -