Dream Chaser spaceplane updates (thread 2)


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DocM

Coming out from embargo -

Weather permitting, a second Dream Chaser ETA (Engineering Test Article) captive carry is immenant and then the free-flying drop test will happen within the next 10 days.

Dream Chaser ETA will drop from a Skycrane helicopter, then maneuver to an autonomous runway landing at NASA's Dryden flight test center. The flight should last about 30 seconds.

There have been rumors that if something goes amiss a parachute system will activate and bring her down. Unconfirmed.

SNC & NASA Dryden staff are in place and the Skycrane helicopter is ready. So far preps are going smoothly.

Also, Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works are constructing the Dream Chaser Flight Test Article (FTA), which will do piloted glide and rocket powered atmospheric flights. Skunk Works is Lockheed Martin's advanced and top-secret fabricator.

Sierra-Nevada-Corporation-SNC-Dream-Chas

20130515_sierra%20nevada%20corp%20dream%

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Beittil

While I really hope things will go as planned I couldn't help but laugh if this thing fell like a brick during the drop test and pancaked itself on the runway :P

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DocM

It's not as if lifting bodies have never flown. NACA, then NASA, flew manned atmospheric tests in the 1950's and 1960's, and the Russians launched the unmanned BOR-4 testbed as part of the leadup to flying their Buran space shuttle.

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DocM

Captive carry yesterday, and rumblings the drop flight test may be tomorrow (Friday) if the weather holds.

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DocM

Drop test was delayed to today (Saturday) for various reasons.

The drop test was initiated. NASA Dryden says she flew perfectly, but had a mechanical failure of the left landing gear on landing. This resulted in her losing control on the runway and rolling over.

No word.yet as to how much damage, repair time, or if they'll just move on to the FTA (flight test article) Dream Chaser being built at the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works. The FTA will be equipped for crewed and rocket powered atmospheric flights.

The upside: the test of the airframe and avionics was successful.

The downside: they have to figure out why the landing gear failed, and this may increase pressure by some in Congress to down-select to just the 2 competitors that are fully funded - SpaceX's Dragon and Boeing's CST-100. Dream Chaser has only been receiving half the funding of the others.

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Beittil

Well, not really the pancake I had in mind... but damn, what a shame! Must be really though on these folks after all that hard work to see something stupid like a landing gear malfunction crash the party.

 

But then again, even that MUST check out... it would be silly if you bring home a crew safely through the atmosphere only to have them die on the runway because a vehicle rolls over and catches on fire or something like that.

 

Btw, I really do hope SNC will still release the footage of this flight... I personally believe that holding negative images back where you normally show _a lot_ to the public (facebook, twitter, etc) it would just be bad publicity! Things can go well and things can go wrong. Only showing the fun times and not the bad would almost suggest being ashamed of what one does.

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DocM

http://www.spacenews.com/article/launch-report/37903snc-mission-accomplished-in-dream-chaser-test-despite-crash-landing

WASHINGTON ? Despite a crash landing, a full-scale model of Sierra Nevada Corp.?s Dreamchaser ? one of three spacecraft vying to take the space shuttle?s place as NASA?s means of flying astronauts to the international space station ? may actually have performed well enough in an Oct. 26 test flight to clear a $15 million development milestone, according to a Sierra Nevada executive.

?The milestone was all about the flight worthiness of the vehicle and the data from the flight and the ability for us to autonomously control the flight in the air,? Mark Sirangelo, corporate vice president for Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) and chairman of Sierra Nevada Space Space Systems, told SpaceNews in an Oct. 28 phone interview. ?The fact that the landing gear didn?t go down once we hit the ground ... was not actually part of the test.?

SNC has not yet decided whether to repair the Dream Chaser test craft, which does not use the same landing gear the orbital vehicle would use. Investigating what went wrong will take ?a couple of weeks,? Sirangelo estimated. He said the vehicle, which is now in a hangar in Mojave, Calif., was ?fully intact? after the crash.

?The pressure vessel was completely pristine, the computers are still working, there was no damage to the crew cabin or flight systems,? Sirangelo said. ?I went inside it myself and it was perfectly fine. There was some damage from skidding.

?We learned everything we wanted to on this test, and learned more than we expected to learn,? Sirangelo said. ?We believe we?ve got most of the data we need [but] I can?t honestly say, I just don?t know yet. It?s not going to affect our schedule in the long term [but] It might affect whether we do another free flight test this year or next year. We?re still assessing that.?

SNC?s $227.5 million Commercial Crew Integrated Capability Space Act Agreement with NASA, awarded in August 2012, calls for a minimum of one drop test. It will ultimately be up to NASA to decide whether the flawed landing ? caused when the test vehicle?s left landing gear failed to deploy ? necessitates a do-over of the Oct. 26 flight.

NASA spokesman Trent Perrotto, reached by email Oct. 28, had no immediate comment about the test.

If more test flights are required, ?we think the Engineering Test Article is flyable again,? Sirangelo said. However, If SNC elects not to repair the craft, which took several months to build, it could construct an ?interim aeroshell? at the Michoud Space Assembly Facility near New Orleans for more test flights, Sirangelo told SpaceNews.

The orbital version of Dream Chaser, meanwhile, has been under construction for ?several months,? Sirangelo said.

>

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Crisp

That's alot of money to crash :s - shame the landing gear didn't fully deploy.

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DocM

The landing gear wasn't part of the milestone since it wasn't the flight version, and it sounds like all the damage was to body panels - the aeroshell. The chassis, pressure vessel etc. are just fine. Sounds like they're going to replace the aeroshell and fly again.

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Beittil

To bad they didn't show the landing, I mean... I can understand it, but thats the thing with trying to involve your public with your projects. Imho they should show the ups AND the downs!

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DocM

For the general public yes, but.for congress-critters who would love nothing more than to use this as a hammer on Commercial Crew in general (divert the $$).or Dream Chaser itself - no. Many powerful ones are in Boeing's pocket (another competitor.)

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Crisp

Does it float well? It kind of looks like a boat, could land it in water.

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DocM

The pressure vessel is vacuum toght, survived the landing gear oopsie (as did the frame) and runs the length of the ship (main hatch is at rear.) There's also a cabin hatch on top. Yeah, it may well survive a ditching.

OTOH, on reentry Dream Chaser can glide to conventional landing strips anywhere within 1,500 km either side of its orbital track (aka a cross-range capability). If it has fuel left that might even be extended by firing those big hybrid rocket engines in or out of the atmosphere.

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DocM

SpaceFlightNow has a writeup on the presser SNC had yesterday.

http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1310/29dreamchaser/#.UnD2sHPD_qA

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At this point, engineers are still assessing the damage endured by the "Dream Chaser" test vehicle as well as flight data characterizing the spacecraft's aerodynamic performance. Depending on the result, the company may opt to repair the test craft for additional unmanned test flights or to press ahead with plans for manned landing tests next year.

"We don't think it's actually going to set us back," Sirangelo told reporters in a teleconference. "In some interesting way, it might actually accelerate it. Because if we've got all the data we needed to get, and it's still early, but if we were able to get all the flight data we were expecting to get, we might actually have been able o bring the vehicle back earlier and get it ready for its next flight.

"We're going through that now, but we don't think there is going to be any signifiant delay to the program as a result of this. This was meant to be a test vehicle with a limited number of flights."

>

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DocM

http://www.aviationweek.com/awmobile/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/asd_10_30_2013_p03-01-631714.xml

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After the ALT series, Sierra plans to refurbish the Dream Chaser for a series of piloted flight tests that will involve towing the vehicle to higher release altitudes, possibly behind a C-17. The atmospheric test work is intended to clear the vehicle?s flight envelope prior to exo-atmospheric tests with an orbital flight test vehicle currently under construction for Sierra Nevada by Lockheed Martin.

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  • 1 month later...
DocM

They've completed the latest milestone, will get played for it, and continue work on the optionally manned atmospheric and the orbital test vehicles.

NASA does another down-select in August 2014. They may fund 2 or 1.5 vehicles (1.5 = full funding for one, half funding for the other,)

SpaceX is widely perceived as the lead proposal since Dragon has flown several times to ISS. Dragon 2/DragonRider will be somewhat different from.the cargo version, but more is the same than different.

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Beittil

 

 

  1. Video SNC did release of the test flight cuts off just before landing: http://bit.ly/19bEsIB 

     
     View media

     

  2. SNC declared that test a success, and NASA concurred, but the vehicle's left landing gear failed to deploy, causing it to skid off runway.

     
    Expand

     

  3. Finally heard back from Sierra Nevada Corp: they have no plans to release additional footage of the Oct 26 Dream Chaser test at Edwards AFB.

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  • 3 weeks later...
DocM

Woah....the exploratory project SNC has with the German space agency may be bigger than we thought. Dream Chaser on an Arieane 5? Could be as the Dream Chaser is launcher agnostic.

Details after the presser.

.

Dan Leone (Space News)

@Leone_SN

Sierra Nevada Space planning collaboration with Euro, German space agencies on the SNC Dreamchaser space plane. Details in a 1/8 presser.

Z131.jpg

Sierra-Nevada-Corporation-SNC-Dream-Chas

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Beittil

Dream Chaser on an Ariane 5 would be quite a sight I'd bet :D Would deffo want to see that thunder into space!

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Beittil

More info from ESA:

 

 

 

ESA and American company Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), have signed an understanding to identify areas of collaboration with European industry for developing hardware and mission concepts for the Dream Chaser orbital transportation system.

ESA will work with Sierra Nevada Corporation to identify how European hardware, software and expertise can be used to further the capabilities of the Dream Chaserorbital crew vehicle. ESA and SNC will also study the possibilities for creating an industrial consortium including European partners to use Dream Chaser for European missions.

 

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/International_Space_Station/Helping_make_Dream_Chaser_a_reality

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  • 2 weeks later...
DocM

VERY possible that at minimum SNC's Dream Chaser will be getting one of the shuttle Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF) buildings at KSC.

It's also possible ULA and SNC could establish a new launch complex at Space Florida's proposed Shiloh SpacePort at the North end of KSC. Space Florida is a state aerospace development agency.

January 21, 2014

MEDIA ADVISORY M14-020

Sierra Nevada Corporation Announces Dream Chaser Expansion along Florida?s Space Coast

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) of Sparks, Nev., will announce expansion plans for its Dream Chaser Space System program in a news conference Thursday, Jan. 23, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The announcement will be carried live on NASA Television and the agency's website at 3 p.m. EST.

SNC officials will discuss the company?s plans for expansion in the Kennedy area and the current status of the Dream Chaser program. Others will join the briefing to discuss how these developments assist in creating jobs and investment opportunities on the Space Coast that support Kennedy's transformation into a multi-user spaceport.

The news conference will take place at Kennedy?s Press Site Television Auditorium. NASA TV will air the news conference prior to the launch of the agency?s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS)-L. Liftoff of TDRS-L on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida is targeted for 9:05 p.m.

Mark Sirangelo, corporate vice president and head of SNC?s Space Systems, will make the announcements and be joined by:

-- Bob Cabana, Kennedy Space Center director

-- Michael Gass, United Launch Alliance president and CEO

-- Frank DiBello, Space Florida president and CEO

-- Larry Price, Lockheed Martin Space Systems deputy program manager for NASA's Orion spacecraft

-- Steve Lindsey, Sierra Nevada Corporation Dream Chaser program manager

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DocM

Official:

The debut orbital launch of Dream Chaser on an Atlas V HR is November 2016. They'll be using Lockheed Martin's space inside the O&C, right next to Orion.

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IsItPluggedIn

Wow that is a fair way off. I thought they were coming close to finishing this bad boy off. I was expecting flights by the start of next year not the end of the year after. 

 

Is there any reason for the long time, or was I completely wrong with my assumption of how far along they were?

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