Pictures of Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser Shuttle Under Development

SNC Dream Chaser Pressure Shell. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

The Commercial Spaceflight Federation published a press release and photos outlining progress to date among the five contractors in NASA’s Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program. The pictures above and below show progress by Sierra Nevada Corporation on its 7-person Dream Chaser shuttle.

Bottom: SNC Vice President and former astronaut Jim Voss works with University of Colorado students in front of the Dream Chaser mock up. (Credit: CU-Boulder)

CSF PRESS RELEASE

Overview:

SNC’s CCDev award was for its Dream Chaser vehicle. Dream Chaser will launch on an existing
United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle, and will have on-board propulsion utilizing SNC’s proprietary hybrid motor technology. The Dream Chaser spacecraft is based on NASA’s HL-20 crew vehicle, with a strong development heritage. It is a piloted spacecraft which will be able to carry a crew of seven as well as critical cargo to the ISS and other low Earth orbit destinations, and return crew and fragile experiments to a runway landing.

SNC Dream Chaser test cockpit. (Credit: CU-Boulder)

Progress:

SNC has announced the successful completion of two more critical milestones for NASA’s Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) Program. On September 21, 2010, SNC completed its third milestone which was three successful test firings of a single hybrid rocket motor in one day. The tests, which simulated a nominal mission profile, demonstrated the multiple restart capability of SNC’s proprietary hybrid rocket motor. Earlier this summer, SNC completed its second major milestone. This milestone was focused on the development of the primary tooling necessary to build the composite structure of the Dream Chaser. The tooling required under the milestone has been completed and is now being used to complete fabrication of the first critical aeroshell structures which will be tested later this year.

SNC Dream Chaser motor firing. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

Mark N. Sirangelo, SNC’s Corporate Vice President for Space Systems commented, “SNC has
four major milestones under the CCDev 10 month program. All three of our completed
milestones were finished on time and on budget. NASA conducted a thorough review of all the
elements of the milestones and has certified milestone completion with no corrective actions. I’d
like to thank all of our CCDev Dream Chaser team for this terrific accomplishment.”

United Launch Alliance's configurations for launch commercial crew vehicles on Delta IV and Atlas V vehicles. Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser shuttle is being launched in the center illustration. (Credit: United Launch Alliance)
SNC Dream Chaser docks with the International Space Station. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)