CCP Spotlight: Sierra Nevada Progresses on Dream Chaser Work

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SNC Dream Chaser Post Flight
NASA’s CCP Spotlight on Development

Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) Space Systems is putting the Engineering Test Article of its Dream Chaser through a Ground Resonance Test at the company’s facilities. The testing is standard for aircraft and helicopters and confirms that vibrations from machinery inside the craft won’t make it shake itself apart.

Preparations for wind tunnel testing continue on track following a recent test readiness review with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP). The testing, scheduled for later this month then in May and June, is tied to one of the milestones SNC will meet to reduce risk in spacecraft designs during the agency’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) initiative.

The Dream Chaser is being developed as a private spacecraft that can carry crews into low-Earth orbit and potentially the International Space Station by mid-decade.

To learn more about CCP and its partners, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew

Sierra Nevada Commercial Crew Milestones

No. Description Date Status Amount
1. Program Implementation Plan Review. This is an initial meeting to describe the plan for implementing the Commercial Crew Integrated Capability Program, to include management planning for achieving CDR; Design, Development, Testing, and Evaluation activities; risk management to include mitigation plans, and certification activities planned during the CCiCap Base Period. August 2012 Complete $30 Million
2. Integrated System Baseline Review. The Integrated System Baseline Review (ISBR) demonstrates the maturity of the baseline CTS integrated vehicle and operations design of the Dream Chaser Space System (DCSS) consisting of Dream Chaser spacecraft, Atlas launch vehicle, Mission Systems, and Ground Systems supports proceeding with the detailed CTS design. October 2012 Complete $45 Million
3. Integrated System Safety Analysis Review #1. The purpose of the Integrated System Safety Analysis Review #1 is to demonstrate that the systems safety analysis of the Dream Chaser Space System (DCSS) has been advanced to a preliminary maturity level, incorporating changes resulting from the Preliminary Design Review, The DCSS consists of the Dream Chaser spacecraft, launch vehicle, ground systems and mission systems. January 2013 Complete $20 Million
4. Engineering Test Article Flight Testing. The purpose of these additional free flight test(s) is to reduce risk due to aerodynamic uncertainties in the subsonic approach and landing phase of flight and to mature the Dream Chaser aerodynamic database. A minimum of one and up to five additional Engineering Test Article free flight test(s) will be completed to characterize the aerodynamics and controllability of the Dream Chaser Orbital Vehicle outer mold line configuration during the subsonic approach and landing phase. April 2013 Pending $15 Million
5. SNC Investment Financing #1. This funding represents SNC’s commitment for significant investing financing. SNC to provide program co-investment of [REDACTED]. July 2013 Pending $12.5 Million
6. Integrated System Safety Analysis Review #2. The purpose of the Integrated System Safety Analysis Review #2 is to demonstrate that the systems safety analysis of the Dream Chaser Space System. October 2013 Pending $20 Million
7. Certification Plan Review. The Certification Plan Review defines the top level strategy for certification of the DCSS that meets the objectives for the ISS Design Reference Mission described in CCT-DRM-1110 Rev Basic. SNC shall conduct a review of the verification and validation activities planned for the Dream Chaser Space System (Dream Chaser spacecraft, Atlas launch vehicle, Ground and Mission Systems). November 2013 Pending $25 Million
8. Wind Tunnel Testing. The purpose of this testing is to reduce risk on both the DC vehicle and the DC/Atlas stack by maturing the DC and DCiAtias aerodynamic databases, providing improved fidelity in Reynolds number effects and control surface interactions, and will help determine pre-CDR required updates to the OML or control surface geometry if required. February 2014 Pending $20 Million
9. Risk Reduction and TRL Advancement Testing. The purpose of these tests is to significantly mature all Dream Chaser systems to or beyond a CDR level. May 2014 Pending $17 Million
9a. Main Propulsion and RCS Risk Reduction and TRL Advancement Testing. The purpose of these tests is to significantly mature the Dream Chaser Main Propulsion System and Reaction Control System to or beyond a CDR level. Risk reduction and Technology Readiness Level improvement tests will be completed for these systems. May 2014 Pending $8 Million
TOTAL: $212.5 Million

  • Andrew

    The Dream Chaser Engineering Test Article was supposed to be at Edwards in March for drop testing. Anybody know why it isn’t? Anybody know the new schedule for arrival?