Sierra Nevada Receives Official NASA Launch Window for Dream Chaser

Dream Chaser lands (Credit: NASA)

SPARKS, Nev. (February, 7, 2018) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) received NASA’s Authority to Proceed for the Dream Chaser spacecraft’s first mission, with a launch window for late 2020. The mission will provide cargo resupply to the International Space Station under the Commercial Resupply Services Contract 2 (CRS2).

“SNC has been successfully completing critical design milestones as approved by NASA, and having a timetable for the first launch is another important step achieved for us,” said Fatih Ozmen, owner and CEO of SNC.  “The team has worked so hard to get to this point and we can’t wait to fulfill this mission for NASA.”

Key Mission Capabilities:

  • Delivers up to 5,500 kg (12,125 lb) of pressurized and unpressurized supplies and scientific research payloads
  • Remains attached to the space station for extended periods so crew can transfer cargo and perform science laboratory operations
  • Flying laboratory that allows scientists to send commands, receive data in real-time
  • Powered payload science experiments can operate continuously during the mission
  • Critical science is conducted from the pressurized cabin (crew-tended or autonomous)
  • Unpressurized cargo/experiments are transferred to or from the space station via robotic operations
  • Returns up to 2,000 kg of cargo via pinpoint landing at NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) for immediate post-landing handover to customer, maximizing the integrity of data collected on-orbit

“The Dream Chaser is going to be a tremendous help to the critical science and research happening on the space station,” said Mark Sirangelo, executive vice president of SNC’s Space Systems business area. “Receiving NASA’s Authority to Proceed is a big step for the program. We can’t wait to see the vehicle return to Kennedy Space Center to a runway landing, allowing immediate access to the science payloads being returned from the station.”

Sierra Nevada Completes NASA Milestone With Dream Chaser Glide Flight

Dream Chaser lands (Credit: NASA)

SPARKS, Nev., January 05, 2018 – Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Dream Chaser program passed a major NASA milestone for its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCAP) contract with the completion of a successful Free-Flight test, which produced subsonic flight and landing performance data.

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Triumph Group Awarded Contract for Dream Chaser Landing Gear

Dream Chaser lands (Credit: NASA)

BERWYN, Pa. (Triumph Group PR)–Triumph Group, Inc. (NYSE:TGI) announced today that its Integrated Systems business unit will provide the landing gear system for the Dream Chaser® spacecraft, a reusable, lifting-body vehicle in support of NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS2) program that will resupply the International Space Station. The contract for work was signed with Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), and includes the main and nose landing gear as well as integrated actuation solutions for the landing gear and gear door systems manufactured at Triumph’s Redmond, Washington site.

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Dream Chaser Designated “Best of What’s New”

Dream Chaser berthed at space station. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

SPARKS, Nev., October 18, 2017 – Popular Science magazine has selected Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Dream Chaser spacecraft for the 2017 “Best of What’s New” award. This recognition from the world’s largest science and technology magazine celebrates technologies that will “change our world.”

“We’re certainly proud to be recognized like this,” said Eren Ozmen, SNC’s owner and president. “And we’re even more excited about the future of Dream Chaser. This is America’s spaceplane — it has the best engineering and technology and represents our national pioneering spirit,” added Ozmen.

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Sierra Nevada Completes Successful Dream Chaser Glide Flight

Dream Chaser during its captive carry flight. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

SPARKS, Nev. (August 30, 2017) — Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Dream Chaser engineering test article passed a successful Captive Carry test at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center on Wednesday as part of the Phase Two flight test efforts to advance Dream Chaser progress toward orbital flight.

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Update on Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser

Dream Chaser berthed at space station. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

The slide below is from a recent NASA update on the space agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

Although Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser was eliminated from the final round of the program nearly three years ago, the company has continued to develop the vehicle for both crew and cargo flights to the International Space Station. NASA has awarded a contract for cargo flights under the Commercial Resupply Services 2 program.

A full-scale engineering article is set to conduct an approach and landing test at NASA’s Armstrong Flight and Research Center in California this fall. The flight is one of the unfinished milestones from Sierra Nevada’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capabilities contract.

The test will come about four years the last Dream Chaser approach and landing test in October 2013. The glide portion of the flight went as planned, but a failure of part of the landing gear resulted in a crash on the runway.

The company is continuing to develop Dream Chaser for crew flights under an unfunded Space Act Agreement (SAA) with NASA. A total of eight milestones are included under the agreement, which has been extended to August 2022.

Under an unfunded SAA, each side pays covers its own costs for any work performed.

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MDA to Provide Communications Subsystem for Dream Chaser

Dream Chaser berthed at space station. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

VANCOUVER, BC (MDA PR) — MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (“MDA” or the “Company”) (TSX:MDA), a global communications and information company, today announced that it has received an Authorization to Proceed on a multi-million dollar contract from Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC).

MDA will provide a communications subsystem for on-board communication signal processing capabilities for the Dream Chaser® Cargo System, a cargo transportation spacecraft being developed by SNC under the NASA Commercial Resupply Services (CRS2) program. The spacecraft is scheduled for at least six cargo delivery missions to and from the International Space Station between 2020 and 2024.

Joanna Boshouwers, MDA’s vice president and general manager responsible for this business said, “We are pleased to continue our partnership with SNC and to contribute to the success of the CRS2 program. MDA is a long-term supporter of SNC’s innovative Dream Chaser® space vehicle, and we look forward to working closely with SNC to bring it into service for NASA.”

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Draper Readies Dream Chaser for International Space Station

Dream Chaser spacecraft in orbit. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Draper Laboratory PR) – Flight software developed by Draper is helping to bring routine commercial space flight one step closer to reality. The software will be on Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Dream Chaser® spacecraft for resupplying the International Space Station (ISS). When the un-crewed spacecraft launches to the ISS, its mission will be to deliver six tons of food, supplies and fuel to the orbiting laboratory.

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Dream Chaser to Use Europe’s Next-Generation Docking System

SNC Dream Chaser docks with the International Space Station. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA and a team of European industrial contractors led by QinetiQ have finalised an agreement with Sierra Nevada Corporation for the use of Europe’s International Berthing Docking Mechanism on the Dream Chaser spaceplane.

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Dream Chaser to Undergo Tests at NASA Armstrong

Sierra Nevada Corporation’s space vehicle suspends in a hangar at NASA’s Armstrong to undergo testing. (Credit: NASA/Ken Ulbrich)

Sierra Nevada Corporation delivered its Dream Chaser spacecraft Wednesday to NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California, located on Edwards Air Force Base. The spacecraft will undergo several months of testing at the center in preparation for its approach and landing flight on the base’s 22L runway.

The test series is part of a developmental space act agreement SNC has with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The upcoming test campaign will help SNC validate the aerodynamic properties, flight software and control system performance of the Dream Chaser.

SNC delivers Dream Chaser to NASA Armstrong posing it with the HL-10 lifting body flown the 1960s. (Credit: NASA /Ken Ulbrich)

The Dream Chaser is also being prepared to deliver cargo to the International Space Station under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS2) contract beginning in 2019. The data that SNC gathers from this test campaign will help influence and inform the final design of the cargo Dream Chaser, which will fly at least six cargo delivery missions to and from the space station by 2024.

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Dream Chaser Arrives at Edwards for Drop Tests

Editor’s Note: Dream Chaser was last at Edwards in October 2013 for its first and only drop test. It was released from a helicopter and glided to a runway landing. However, it crashed after part of its landing gear failed to deploy. Video of the accident has never been released.

At the time, Sierra Nevada was testing a crew version of the Dream Chaser under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The vehicle was dropped from the program the following year. However, NASA has given the company a contract to deliver supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) using a cargo variant of the spacecraft.

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NASA’s Commercial Crew Program By the Numbers

commercial_crew_cst100_dragon_iss
With the recent news that commercial crew flights to the International Space Station will likely slip to the end of 2018, I thought it would be a good time to review what NASA has spend on the program since it began in 2010. And, since NASA has separated cargo and crew, we will also look at the space agency’s commercial cargo programs.

The table below shows that NASA has given out nearly $8.4 billion in contracts to Commercial Crew Program partners over the past six years. These figures do not include NASA’s overhead.

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SpaceX, NASA Misled Public About First Commercial Resupply Flight

Falcon 9 launches on its first commercial resupply mission.
Falcon 9 launches on its first commercial resupply mission.

As SpaceX prepared to launch its first commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station in October 2012, there was a rather curious aspect about the mission. While the Dragon spacecraft was advertised as being able to carry 3,310 kg of cargo, the ship was only loaded with 450 kg of cargo — less than 14 percent of maximum capacity.

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Aerojet Rocketdyne to Supply Electrical Power System for Dream Chaser

Dream Chaser test vehicle prepares to ship. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)
Dream Chaser test vehicle prepares to ship. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 02, 2016 (Aerojet Rocketdyne PR) — Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), has been awarded a contract from Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) to supply the electrical power system for the Dream Chaser, a commercial spacecraft that will carry cargo to and from the International Space Station. The system will regulate power generated from the solar arrays and distribute it to the reusable spacecraft’s avionics, thermal and propulsion systems, as well as payloads that require electrical power.

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Orbital ATK Purchases Additional Cygnus Modules

Cygnus approaches ISS (Credit: NASA)
Cygnus approaches ISS (Credit: NASA)

Farnborough, UK, 11 July 2016 (Thales Alenia PR) – Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo-Finmeccanica (33%), today announced the signing of a new contract with Orbital ATK, Inc. (NYSE: OA) a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies. The announcement was made at the Farnborough International Airshow in Farnborough, UK.

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