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Dream Chaser is a reusable space plane designed to carry from two to seven people and/or cargo to orbital destinations such as the International Space Station. It is being developed by Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Space Systems.

Dream Chaser vehicle landing...an artist's depiction


Dream Chaser is a reusable lifting-body space plane carries up to seven crew and cargo to and from low Earth orbit. It is part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program to supply crew and cargo to the International Space Station.

The Dream Chaser space plane vehicle design derived from NASAís HL-20  which had years of development, analysis, and wind tunnel testing by the Langley Research Center.

Dream Chaser will be launched vertically on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V Launch Vehicle. It will be capable of free flight in low Earth orbit and of docking to the International Space Station & other orbital destinations.

When returning to Earth it will use a low-impact horizontal landing on a conventional runway. The vehicle has a large cross-range with frequent landing opportunities. It is designed for simple maintenance and quick turnaround.

The vehicle has a low-g reentry (< 1.5 gs) which protects crew & science experiment return samples.

Dream Chaser has crew safety features, such as non-toxic propulsion systems. The on-board propulsion system is derived from SNCís SpaceShipOne and SpaceShipTwo hybrid rocket motor technology.

The first orbital flight test of the Dream Chaser is not expected before 2016. A fleet of Dream Chaser spaceplanes maybe built in the future.


Specifications

Length: 9m
Mass: 11,340 kg
Volume: 16.00 m3
Wing Span: 7.00 m
Crew: Up to 7.


Performance

Endurance: At least 210 days
Re-entry: Less than 1.5 g


History

* The Dream Chaser was publicly announced on September 20, 2004 as candidate for NASA's Vision for Space Exploration and later Commercial Orbital Transportation Services Program (COTS).

* SpaceDev was acquired by Sierra Nevada Corporation in December 2008. On February 1, 2010, Sierra Nevada Corporation was awarded $20 million in seed money under NASAís Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) phase 1 program for the development of the Dream Chaser.

NASA Langley's original HL-20 team made to the successful Dream Chaser Flight Vehicle Captive Carry test completed on May 29, 2012. This test marked the first full-scale flight of the HL-20-derived vehicle, as well as the beginning of the Dream Chaser's flight test program. The flight met all the pre-established flight test goals and was a significant step towards preparing the vehicle for an autonomous Approach and Landing Test (ALT).

* On 12 June 2012, Sierra Nevada Corporationís (SNC) Space Systems proudly announced the commemoration of the fifth year of its very successful relationship with NASA Langley Research Center as partners in the design and development of the Dream Chaser Space System (DCSS). SNC and NASA Langley joined forces to update NASA's HL-20 lifting body vehicle design into SNC's Dream Chaser orbital crew vehicle, which is being developed as part of NASAís venture into commercially provided crew transport.

Sierra Nevada Corporation and NASA's Langley Research Center announced five years of partnership on the Dream Chaser Space System.

* In April 2013 SNC's Hybrid Rocket Engines Power SpaceShipTwo on its First Powered Flight Test.

* In June 2013 Sierra Nevada Corporation began Dream Chaser Main Hybrid Rocket Motor Testing.

* On 29 June 2013, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) participated in the Space Shuttle Atlantis grand opening weekend by unveiling a new 1/3 scale Dream Chaser model that will remain on display at the Kennedy Space Centerís Visitors Complex indefinitely.


Did you know?

* Dream Chaser was the winner of two NASA Commercial Crew Development Awards, totalling $100 Million.


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Copyright © 2000-2014 Vic Stathopoulos. All rights reserved.

Updated: Tuesday 1st, April, 2014

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