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Sierra Nevada Completes Dream Chaser Technology Readiness Level Milestone

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Former astronaut Lee Archambault Dream Chaser crew test. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

Former astronaut Lee Archambault Dream Chaser crew test. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

SPARKS, Nev., July 22, 2014 (SNC PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announces it has successfully passed Milestone 9, the Risk Reduction and Technology Readiness Level (TRL) Advancement Testing milestone, for several critical Dream Chaser® systems under NASA’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) agreement. Milestone 9 culminated in a major comprehensive review of various hardware systems. To date, SNC has received 92 percent of the total award value of the CCiCap agreement.

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Remaining Commercial Crew Milestones for All Companies

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NASA Commercial Crew Program Remaining Milestones
July 2014

No. Description Original Date Status Amount
BOEING
19 Critical Design Review (CDR) Board. Boeing shall establish and demonstrate a critical baseline design of the CCTS that meets system requirements. CDR confirms that the requirements, detailed designs, and plans for test and evaluation form a satisfactory basis for production and integration. April 2014 3Q 2014 $17.9 Million
21A Boeing Spacecraft Safety Review. Boeing shall prepare and conduct a Phase 2 Safety Review of the Commercial Crew Transportation System (CCTS) Spacecraft Critical Design Review (CDR) level requirements, system architecture and design, and associated safety products to assess conformance with Commercial Crew Transportation System certification process (CDR-level products). Focus is review of the updated hazard reports, hazard causes and controls, and specific safety verification methods to reflect the CDR level of design detail for the CCTS Spacecraft Segment. July 2014 3Q 2014 $20 Million
TOTAL REMAINING (OUT OF $480 MILLION): $37.9 Million
SIERRA NEVADA CORPORATION
4B 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 March 2015 $8 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 3Q 2014 $17 Million
15A Reaction 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 2014 3Q 2014 $10 Million
TOTAL REMAINING (OUT OF $227.5 MILLION): $35 Million
SPACEX
11 Pad Abort Test. SpaceX will conduct a pad abort test of the Dragon spacecraft. The scenario where an abort is initiated while the CTS is still on the pad is a design driver for the launch abort system as it dictates the total impulse and also requires parachute deployment in close proximity to the ground. December 2013 3Q 2014 $30 Million
12 Dragon Primary Structure Qualification. SpaceX will conduct static structural testing of all Dragon primary structure components to ultimate load factors, as applicable. This series of tests will validate the Dragon structure’s ability to maintain integrity during all driving load cases as well as verify the accuracy of math models used to analyze the Dragon structure. Individual tests will be designed to exercise all credible failure modes and minimum margin areas. January 2014 2nd Half 2014 $30 Million
13B Ground Systems and Mission Operations Critical Design Review (CDR). Part 2 of the CDR focused on ground systems and mission operations. The goal of the CDR is to demonstrate that the maturity of the CTS design is appropriate to support proceeding with full-scale fabrication, assembly, integration and test. March 2014 August 2014 $3 Million
13C Crew Vehicle Technical Interchange Meetings. Part 3 of the CDR. The goal of the CDR is to demonstrate that the maturity of the CTS design is appropriate to support proceeding with full-scale fabrication, assembly, integration and test. March 2014 September 2014 $5 Million
13D Delta Crew Vehicle Critical Design Review (CDR). The final milestone in the CDR.The goal of the CDR is to demonstrate that the maturity of the CTS design is appropriate to support proceeding with full-scale fabrication, assembly, integration and test.
March 2014 November 2014 $5 Million
14 In-Flight Abort Test. SpaceX will conduct an in-flight abort test of the Dragon spacecraft. The in-flight abort test will supplement the pad abort test and complete the corners-of-the-box stress cases. The in-flight abort scenario represents a Dragon abort while under propulsive flight of the launch vehicle during the worst-case dynamic loads on the CTS. April 2014 March 2015 $30 Million
TOTAL REMAINING (OUT OF $460 MILLION): $103 Million
BLUE ORIGIN
1.4 Space Vehicle Subsystem Interim Design Review. Review space vehicle subsystem design progress with emphasis on power and actuation systems, in-space propulsion, multiplex avionics, flight mechanics and GN&C. March 2014 2nd Half 2014 $0
TOTAL REMAINING: $0
TOTALS — ALL COMPANIES
TOTAL REMAINING (OUT OF $1.17 BILLION) : $175.9 Million

Sierra Nevada Completes Acquisition of ORBITEC

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Dream Chaser (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

Dream Chaser (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

SPARKS, Nev. (SNC PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announces it completed the acquisition of Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC), headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin. The company will continue its operations in Madison, while supporting SNC’s Space Systems in Louisville, Colorado.

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Sierra Nevada Commercial Crew Status for July 2014

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Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

Sierra Nevada Commercial Crew Milestones Status
Award Period: August 2012 – March 2015
Total Milestones: 13
Milestones Completed: 10
Milestones Pending: 3
Total Possible Award: $227.5 Million
Total Awarded to Date: $192.5 Million

Total Award Remaining: $35 Million

No. Description Original 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
4A Engineering 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 2013 Complete $7 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 Complete $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 Complete $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 Complete $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 Complete
$20 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 Complete
$8
Million
10A Critical Design Review Incremental Design Review #1. This is the first of a series of reviews that support the Dream Chaser Space System ICDR. October 2013 Complete
$5 Million
TOTAL TO DATE
(OUT OF $227.5 Million):
$192.5
Million
4B 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 March 2015
$8 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 3Q 2014
$17 Million
15A Reaction 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 2014 3Q 2014
$10 Million
TOTAL: $227.5 Million

Sierra Nevada Completes Dream Chaser Propulsion, Reaction Control Milestone

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Dream Chaser Main Propulsion System Test. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

Dream Chaser Main Propulsion System Test. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

Sparks, Nev., July 8, 2014 (SNC PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announces it has completed a major Main Propulsion System (MPS) and Reaction Control System (RCS) risk reduction milestone for the Dream Chaser® Space System, maturing the design of each system close to Critical Design Review (CDR). The milestone positions SNC one step closer to restoring U.S. crew transportation to low-Earth orbit (LEO).

SNC completed the work for milestone 9a under its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) agreement with NASA. In total, SNC has received over 80 percent of the total award value of the CCiCap agreement having successfully completed 10 of 13 milestones.

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NASA Commercial Crew Partners Move Forward on Milestones

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CCiCap milestone completion status: Boeing, 18 of 20; SpaceX, 13 of 18; Sierra Nevada Corporation, 10 of 13.

CCiCap milestone completion status: Boeing, 18 of 20; SpaceX, 13 of 18; Sierra Nevada Corporation, 10 of 13.

NASA Commercial Crew Return On Investment Report
Issue No. 16 — July 2014

NASA’s industry partners continue to move forward with their Commercial Crew integrated Capability (CCiCap) efforts, successfully completing milestones and working toward the culmination of their CCiCap Space Act Agreements. The Boeing Company is scheduled to complete its milestones later this summer. NASA has agreed to extend the terms of the Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) agreements to March 2015 allowing for completion of work associated with remaining flight testing—SpaceX an in-flight abort test and SNC a free flight test of a Dream Chaser test vehicle.

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NASA Extends SpaceX, Sierra Nevada Commercial Crew Agreements By 7 Months

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NASA has signed amendments to their commercial crew agreements with SpaceX and Sierra Nevada Corporation that give each company an additional seven months to complete flight test milestones on their space vehicles. The deadline is now March 31, 2015, instead of Aug. 31.

The SpaceX amendment will allow additional time for the company to complete an in-flight abort test with its Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 booster. The test, which is worth $30 million, is the final of 14 milestones in the current commercial crew round of funding. It was originally scheduled to be completed in April 2014.

Sierra Nevada is being given an extension to no later than March 31, 2015, to conduct additional drop tests of its Dream Chaser lifting body vehicle. The milestone, which is worth $8 million, was originally scheduled for completion in April 2013.

The company conducted an initial drop test of Dream Chaser at Edwards Air Force Base in California in October 2013. The approach went as planned, but the vehicle skidded off the runway after a failure of one of the two main landing gear to deploy properly.

This is the second time NASA has extended the current round of commercial crew funding. The space agency earlier extended the round from May to August 2014 while adding funding for additional milestones for Sierra Nevada and Boeing, which is the third company competing in the program.

NASA has said that it hopes to make a decision on the next round of funding in August. That decision could eliminate one or two of the competing companies.

Sierra Nevada Acquires ORBITEC

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Dream Chaser (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

Dream Chaser (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

SPARKS, Nev., June 19, 2014 (SNR PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), headquartered in Sparks, Nevada, announces that it has signed a definitive purchase agreement to acquire the Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC) as a wholly-owned subsidiary of SNC. ORBITEC is a leading subsystems integrator and high technology development company based in Madison, Wisconsin. ORBITEC’s strong liquid rocket propulsion, life science and support, and fire suppression technology portfolio will enhance both SNC Space Systems’ Propulsion and Spacecraft Systems’ product lines.

SNC has been working with ORBITEC for over three years. ORBITEC is the lead for the Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS) and Thermal Control Systems (TCS) for SNC, providing reliable living conditions including temperature and humidity control to support the astronauts during their journeys on SNC’s Dream Chaser® spacecraft. Recently, SNC selected ORBITEC to provide the RCS engines for Dream Chaser using green, nontoxic propellants. The flexibility of fuel and oxidizer options along with the ability to quickly scale engine size makes ORBITEC’s Vortex technology the growing industry preferred choice for Reaction Control Systems (RCS), Upper Stage engines and potentially boost class engines.

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A Closer Look at NASA’s FY 2015 Budget Prospects

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Capitol BuildingAfter years of flat and declining budgets, it looks like NASA will get a funding boost this year from an unexpected source — Congress.

The FY 2015 budget measures coming out of the Senate and House actually boost the President’s proposed $17.46 billion spending plan by about $400 million. The Senate would spend an even $17.9 billion, while the House spending plan is just slight under that level at $17.896 billion.

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Sierra Nevada Corporation Adds Craig Technologies to Dream Chaser Team

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Sierra Nevada Corporation's Dream Chaser flight vehicle undergoes taxi tow testing on May 31 at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in California. (Credit: NASA)

Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser flight vehicle undergoes taxi tow testing on May 31 at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center in California. (Credit: NASA)

SPARKS, Nev., June 12, 2014 (SNC PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announces it has selected Craig Technologies of Cape Canaveral, Florida, to join its expanding list of ‘Dream Team’ organizations selected to support SNC’s Dream Chaser® program.  SNC is developing the Dream Chaser spacecraft as a commercial transportation vehicle to low-Earth orbit.  Craig Technologies will provide multiple contracted products and services to SNC. The announcement was made at a press conference today at Craig Technologies Aerospace and Defense Manufacturing Center in Cape Canaveral.

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