Sierra Nevada Completes Commercial Crew Milestone

SNC and ORBITEC complete RCS testing in vacuum chamber to simulate orbit environment. (Credit: SNC)
SNC and ORBITEC complete RCS testing in vacuum chamber to simulate orbit environment. (Credit: SNC)

SPARKS, Nev., Dec. 2, 2014 (SNC PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announces the successful completion of a major milestone relating to the Reaction Control System (RCS) propulsion risk reduction for the Dream Chaser®  Space System, known as Milestone 15a. The achievement further matures the design toward Critical Design Review (CDR) and positions SNC one step closer to concluding all milestones laid out in NASA’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) agreement. To date, SNC has received 96 percent of the total award value of the CCiCap agreement, having successfully completed 12 of 13 milestones.

Milestone 15a builds on SNC’s previous propulsion system innovation and development maturity by implementing a compact prototype thruster operating in a vacuum chamber to simulate an on-orbit environment. The RCS, which is being designed and tested by SNC’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC), provides precise on-orbit control of the Dream Chaser spacecraft for many critical maneuvers including docking of the Dream Chaser spacecraft to destinations in low-Earth orbit. The RCS also supports the unique capability of the Dream Chaser to safely return from orbit and land on any designated runway.

“Safety is paramount in the design of the Dream Chaser Space System,” said Mark N. Sirangelo, corporate vice president of SNC’s Space Systems. “It is driven by reliability, rigorous quality assurance, consistent performance, extensive testing, and robust analysis. In passing this milestone, we are able to validate our performance and safety, while decreasing the risk for this critical propulsion system. Reaching this milestone propels us even closer toward the Critical Design Review and orbital flight of our complete system.”

On August 19, 2013, SNC and NASA amended their original CCiCap Space Act Agreement to add Milestones 15a.  The optional milestone provided critical hardware demonstration of the RCS technology to support crewed or uncrewed missions of the Dream Chaser Space System architecture.

SNC’s Dream Chaser is a multi-mission-capable space utility vehicle that is able to operate as an independent science platform, logistics enabler, or orbital servicing vehicle with the ability to retrieve, repair, replace, assemble or deploy items in space. Dream Chaser provides the only reusable, human-rated, lifting-body spacecraft with a commercial runway landing capability, anywhere in the world – offering safe, affordable, flexible and reliable transportation to space.

About Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems

Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems business area based in Louisville, Colorado, designs and manufactures advanced spacecraft, space vehicles, rocket motors and spacecraft subsystems and components for the U.S. Government, commercial customers, as well as for the international market.  SNC’s Space Systems has more than 25 years of space heritage and has participated in over 400 successful space missions through the delivery of over 4,000 systems, subsystems and components.  During its history, SNC’s Space Systems has concluded over 70 programs for NASA and over 50 other clients. For more information about SNC’s Space Systems visit www.sncspace.com and follow us at Facebook.com/SNCSpaceSystems and Twitter @SNCspacesystems.

About Sierra Nevada Corporation

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), headquartered in Sparks, Nevada, is among the “World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Space.” Over the last 30 years, under the leadership of President Eren Ozmen and CEO Fatih Ozmen, SNC has become one of America’s fastest-growing private companies and the Top Woman-Owned Federal Contractor in the United States. With a workforce of over 3,000 personnel in 17 states, SNC has a reputation for rapid, innovative, and agile technology solutions in electronics, aerospace, avionics, space, propulsion, micro-satellite, aircraft, communications systems and solar energy.

SNC has six unique business areas that are dedicated to providing leading-edge solutions to its dynamic customer base. SNC has a proven track record of success spanning more than five decades. It is focused on providing its customers with the very best in diversified technologies and continues to focus its growth on the commercial sector through internal advancements in dual-use applications and outside acquisitions including the emerging markets of renewable energy, telemedicine, nanotechnology, cyber and net-centric operations.

For more information on SNC visit www.sncorp.com and follow us at Facebook/Sierra Nevada Corporation. Sierra Nevada Corporation and SNC are trademarks of Sierra Nevada Corporation.

Sierra Nevada Commercial Crew Milestones Status
Award Period: August 2012 – March 2015
Total Milestones: 13
Milestones Completed: 12
Milestones Pending: 1
Total Possible Award: $227.5 Million
Total Awarded to Date: $219.5 Million

Total Award Remaining: $8 Million

NO.DESCRIPTIONORIGINAL DATE
STATUSAMOUNT
1Program 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 2012Complete$30 Million
2Integrated 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 2012Complete$45 Million
3Integrated 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 2013Complete$20 Million
4AEngineering Test Article Flight Testing. At least one free flight of the Engineering Test Article to characterize the aerodynamics and controllability of the Dream Chaser Orbital Vehicle outer mold line configuration during the subsonic approach and landing phase.April 2013Complete$7 Million
5SNC Investment Financing #1. This funding represents SNC’s commitment for significant investing financing. SNC to provide program co-investment of [REDACTED].July 2013Complete$12.5 Million
6Integrated 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 2013Complete$20 Million
7Certification 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 2013Complete$25 Million
8Wind 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 2014Complete
$20 Million
9Risk 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 2014Complete
$17 Million
9AMain 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 2014Complete
$8
Million
10ACritical Design Review Incremental Design Review #1. This is the first of a series of reviews that support the Dream Chaser Space System ICDR.October 2013Complete
$5 Million
15AReaction Control System Testing — Incremental Test No. 1. The purpose of the test on this pre-qualification unit is to support eventual qualification/certification by testing the thruster in flight-like environments.July 2014Complete
$10 Million
TOTAL TO DATE (OUT OF $227.5 MILLION):$219.5
Million
4BEngineering 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 2013NLT March 2015
$8 Million
TOTAL REMAINING (OUT OF $227.5 MILLION):
$8 Million