Sierra Nevada Completes Dream Chaser Integrated Systems Safety Review

Dream Chaser flight test. (Credit: SNC)

SPARKS, Nev., December 23, 2013 (SNC PR) — Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announces the successful completion of the second Dream Chaser® Space System (DCSS) Integrated Systems Safety Analysis Review, marking the company’s completion of NASA’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) initiative Milestone six. This critical safety review evaluated not only the Dream Chaser spacecraft, but also the launch vehicle, vehicle integration and the ground and mission systems, which comprise the entire DCSS.

Milestone six represents a major step forward in the maturation of the systems safety and reliability analysis, which is critical to achieving a safe and effective design of the DCSS. During the milestone review, SNC provided NASA with significant and detailed systems safety analysis products including hazard analysis and failure tolerance analysis of the entire DCSS.

“Our Dream Team, which includes our strategic industry partners, noted universities and NASA centers around the country, is making significant strides to prepare the Dream Chaser Space System for its first orbital flight,” said Mark N. Sirangelo, corporate vice president and head of SNC’s Space Systems. “The completion of this safety milestone is a vital program and developmental achievement that advances the program considerably. By successfully passing two critical cornerstone safety milestones in 2013, we have established a path for the Dream Chaser to safely transport U.S. astronauts to and from low-Earth orbit.”

Dream Chaser builds on NASA’s extensive human spaceflight heritage by adopting key lessons learned from programs such as Apollo, the space shuttle, the International Space Station, and Constellation, in the design and operations of the DCSS.

The first DCSS Integrated Systems Safety Analysis Review was held in early 2013, providing NASA its first look at the DCSS safety and reliability analysis products. Since that time, SNC has worked closely with NASA to find opportunities for improvement, and has made significant updates to the design of the vehicle aimed at improving safety and reliability.

“It is very exciting to see SNC incorporating NASA’s lessons learned throughout the past 50 years to ensure our astronauts are able to fly safely to and from low-Earth orbit,” said Kathy Lueders, acting manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. “SNC, like all of our partners, has found innovative ways to make spaceflight safer.”

SNC is working with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to develop a next-generation crew transportation vehicle. Dream Chaser is the only reusable, lifting-body human spacecraft with a commercial runway landing capability, anywhere in the world. The Dream Chaser spacecraft is on the forefront of the commercial human spaceflight industry, offering safe, reliable and cost-effective crew and critical cargo transportation to low-Earth orbit.

Sierra Nevada Commercial Crew Milestones Status
Award Period: August 2012 – August 2014
Milestones: 12
Total: $227.5 Million

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 2012Complete$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 2012Complete$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 2013Complete$20 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 2013Complete$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 2013Complete$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 2013Complete$25 Million
(OUT OF $227.5 Million):
4.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 2013Pending$15 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 2013Pending$5 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 2014Pending$20 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 2014Pending$17 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 2014Pending$8 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 2014Pending$10 Million
TOTAL:$227.5 Million