June 06, 2012
Trent J. Perrotto
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Sierra Nevada Corporation Space Systems
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
"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.