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Dream Chaser is the latest milestone in NASA development



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The Sierra Nevada Corporation's Dream Chaser aircraft has reached another milestone in its development as the third cargo freighter for the ISS.

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  The depiction of a Dream Chaser of the Sierra Nevada Corporation over the International Space Station ISS. Photo credits: Nathan Koga / SpaceFlight Insider

An illustration of the Sierra Nevada Corporation's Dream Chaser on the International Space Station by an artist. Photo credits: Nathan Koga / SpaceFlight Insider

Sierra Nevada Corporation's Dream Chaser cargo spacecraft has recently reached another milestone in its development as the third cargo freighter for the International Space Station (ISS).

According to the Nevada-based company Dream Chaser, which has been in development for over a decade in one form or another, NASA's Integrated Review Milestone 5 (IR5) has essentially passed a status review of the performance of one Series of ground and flight operations in the run-up represents Spacecraft's first resupply mission under the Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contract.

"This milestone is a great accomplishment for the team focused on developing and demonstrating operations," said John Curry, CRS-2 program director at SNC Space Systems business unit, a March 21 news release 2019. "It shows we can operate the Dream Chaser from the ground up, including critical science inside and outside the vehicle."

  Graphical rendering of Dream Chaser spacecraft in orbit. Photo credits: Sierra Nevada Corporation

Graphical rendering of Dream Chaser spacecraft in orbit. Source: Sierra Nevada Corporation

Dream Chaser is a spacecraft based in part on the design of NASA's HL-20 lifting concept, which was studied as a crew transport vehicle for Space Station Freedom, a space station of the 1980s to the International Space Station. It should be about 9 feet long and have sporty stub wings.

The version of the Sierra Nevada Corporation vehicle was initially intended to carry up to seven people to the ISS when they competed under the NASA commercial for crew development programs. In 2014, however, the design was ultimately not chosen primarily because of "lack of maturity," according to the then Aviation Week. The space agency opted instead for SpaceX's Crew Dragon and the Boeing CST-100, which are expected to make their first crewed flights as early as the second half of 2019.

At that time, the Sierra Nevada Corporation began dropping the prototype spacecraft. The first glide, which took place at Edwards Air Force Base in California, went well, except for a stuck landing gear at the end of the flight that caused the test article to topple on landing.

The company said the test was a success despite the chassis problem, and not the design that would be used for the space version because it came from a military jet.

After NASA made no selection, the company continued the development, looking for supporters and organizations that might use the crew version, including a European company and the United Nations.

  Graphical rendering of Dream Chaser spacecraft on the space station. Photo credits: Sierra Nevada Corporation

Graphical rendering of Dream Chaser spacecraft on the space station. Picture credits: Sierra Nevada Corporation

The selection of a cargo variant of the design called Dream Chaser Cargo System by NASA finally breathed new life into the program in January 2016.

The Freight Variant Essentially, it is a spacecraft with a mast, the folding wings of which fit into a rocket with a payload fairing of 16.5 feet (5 meters), and a small one-way module on the back of the vehicle, the pressurized one can convey unpressurized cargo.

The Sierra Nevada Corporation said that this cargo module would also include solar arrays to increase the time of flight in space and to support the payload.

Overall, it is planned to deliver up to 5,500 kilograms (12,100 pounds) of pressurized and unpressurized cargo. 19659008] Critically, she could also bring cargo on a runway of an airport. The cargo module would be disposed of with equipment that is no longer needed prior to re-entry.

The spacecraft is expected to launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket or an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket. However, it is likely that ULA's Vulcan rocket, which will replace the Atlas V, can also support Dream Chaser flights.

Ultimately, one hopes that every spacecraft could be used 15 or more times. with a future crew variant that should fly at least 25 times.

For IR5, the company said that NASA has an overview of the development of the spacecraft, mission simulator and mission control center flight computers and software, as well as demonstrations using high-fidelity mockups from the vehicle and the unpressurized cargo module.

  Liz Antognoli, an engineer from Dream Chaser, is working on the demonstration of the payload model. Photo credits: Sierra Nevada Corporation

Liz Antognoli, engineer at Dream Chaser, is working on the demonstration of payload models. Photo credits: Sierra Nevada Corporation

The review was conducted at the Louisville, Colorado facility of the Sierra Nevada Corporation and NASA's Kennedy Space Center. The data from the Free Flight Test 2017 was also used at Edwards Air Force Base. The landing gear worked as designed for this landing.

"Our Dream Chaser team continues to successfully execute milestones as we approach the spaceship," said Fatih Ozmen, owner and CEO of SNC, on March 21, 2019, company statement. "The orbital spacecraft is in the process of being built, and this milestone shows that the vehicle is undergoing the most important reviews and is making great progress."

According to Sierra Nevada Corporation, Dream Chaser is expected to make its first test flight in the spring of 2021 and will perform at least six orbital flights to and from the International Space Station (ISS) for delivery and return of supplies and experiments.

Under the CRS-2 contract, SpaceX's DragonX capsule, Cygnus's Cygnus spacecraft, and Northrop Grumman's Dream Chaser are expected to make at least six launches each, with a maximum potential value of $ 14 billion.

CRS-2 is a continuation of the CRS-1 contract, which had its first operational flight from SpaceX in October 2012. The first operational flight with Cygnus took place in January 2014. [19659008] Northrop Grumman and SpaceX's first CRS-2 flights are expected in 2019 and 2020, respectively. The contract is expected to last at least 2024.

Video courtesy of the Sierra Nevada Corporation

Tagged: Commercial Resupply Services CRS-2 – Dream Chaser – NASA's International Space Station – Sierra Nevada Corporation

– Derek Richardson

– Derek Richardson holds a degree in mass media with a focus on contemporary journalism at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. In Washburn, he was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper Washburn Review. He also has a blog about the Orbital Velocity international space station. He met with members of the Space Flight Insider team during the flight of a United States Launch Alliance Atlas V 551 rocket with the MUOS 4 satellite. Richardson joined our team shortly thereafter.

His passion for outer space sparked on October 29, 1998 when he saw the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery in space. Today, this zeal has accelerated into orbit and shows no signs of slowing. After trying his hand at math and engineering classes at the university, he quickly realized that his true vocation was conveyed to others through outer space. Since joining SpaceFlight Insider in 2015, Richardson has worked to improve the quality of our content and eventually became our editor-in-chief. @TheSpaceWriter


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