ISPCS Session: Crew Transportation Systems: The Game Changer in Human Spaceflight
Brett Alexander â€“ President, Commercial Spaceflight Federation Mark Sirangelo â€“ Corporate Vice President and Chairman, Sierra Nevada Corporation and Chairman, Commercial Spaceflight Federation Keith Reiley â€“ Program Manager, Commercial Crew Development, The Boeing Company Ken Bowersox â€“ Vice President of Astronaut Safety and Mission Assurance, SpaceX Kenneth Reightler â€“ Vice President, NASA Program Integration, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company Robert Bigelow â€“ Owner and Founder, Bigelow Aerospace
SIERRA NEVADA CORPORATION PRESS RELEASE SNC fires hybrid rocket motor and begins production on Dream Chaser Vehicle
The Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Space Systems Group announces the successful completion of two critical milestones for NASAâ€™s Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) Program.Â On September 21, 2010, SNC completed three successful test firings of a single hybrid rocket motor in one day.Â SNCâ€™s newly opened rocket test facility in San Diego County, California, hosted NASA personnel for a rocket motor manufacturing review as well as the motor firings, including one firing under vacuum ignition conditions.Â The tests, which simulated a complete nominal mission profile, demonstrated the multiple restart capability of SNCâ€™s proprietary hybrid rocket motor.Â This same hybrid rocket will be used as the main propulsion system on the Dream Chaser during the orbital operations.
[Editor’s Note: Sierra Nevada is the main contractor for Scaled Composites’ RocketMotorTwo, which will power SpaceShipTwo on suborbital flights. Both vehicles are using the same propulsion system. This probably explains why Scaled Composite and Virgin Galactic officials are predicting powered test flights of SpaceShipTwo in 2011.]
ISPCS “Establishing the Commercial Space Market: Matching Business Strategy with Funding Sources”
Lee Rand —Managing Partner, Sun Mountain Capital Grant Anderson —VP of Engineering, Paragon Space Development Corporation Mark Sirangelo — Corporate VP and Chairman, Sierra Nevada Corporation; Chairman, Commercial Spaceflight Federation Tim Pickens — Commercial Space Advisor; Chief Propulsion Engineer, Dynetics Robert Bigelow —Owner and Founder, Bigelow Aerospace
Sierra Nevada Corporation successfully test fired the RocketMotorTwo engine for the fifth time last week. The hot-firing was the first such test in over four months. Previous firings were done one:
April 20, 2009 May 06, 2009 May 20, 2009 March 30, 2010
RocketEngineTwo Test Log (Courtesy of Scaled Composites)
Fire: 05 Date: 11 August 10
Perform fifth full scale flight design RM2 hot-fire Continue all systems evaluation Continue fuel formulation evaluation Continue nozzle evaluation Continue motor structural evaluation Continue Valve/Injector performance evaluation
All objectives completed. Performed successful increased duration hot-fire, including igniter performance, oxidizer flow and pressurization systems, data acquisition system measurements, structural evaluation, nozzle ablation, and fuel regression rate data collection. Determined stability levels.
The Denver Business Journal has an interview with Mark Sirangelo, head of Sierra Nevada Corporation’s space division and chairman of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. He argues that NASA should fund Orion for deep space exploration only while robustly funding alternatives like the Dream Chaser vehicle that his company is developing for orbital flights.
Sierra Nevada Building On NASA Design Aviation Week
The Colorado-based company is modeling Dream Chaser on the HL-20 lifting-body vehicle that NASA started as a potential International Space Station (ISS) crew rescue vehicle, which would have been able to transport a full station crew fleeing an emergency to a horizontal landing on runways anywhere in the world.
The $50 million in contract awards that NASA announced earlier this month will fund a number of approaches to commercial human spaceflight, including a new capsule and a small space shuttle. The space agency also spread out awards between newer, entrepreneurial companies and established aerospace giants.
NASA has awarded $50 million through funded agreements to further the commercial sector’s capability to support transport of crew to and from low Earth orbit. This step is the first taken by NASA consistent with the president’s direction to foster commercial human spaceflight capabilities.
The Houston Chronicle’s Eric Berger has an interesting Q&A with Mark Sirangelo, executive vice president of Sierra Nevada Corporation, and Larry Williams, vice president of strategic relations for SpaceX. Berger: From the commercial perspective, how soon, and for how much money, could we have a low-Earth-orbit crew transport vehicle?
Sirangelo: Both of our companies are fairly well along in our programs to deliver crews to space. Our program uses a NASA-derived vehicle that has been in development by NASA for 10 years. We took it over four years ago, and are proposing to launch it on an existing launch system that has flown many hundreds of times. Our program is called Dream Chaser. We’re not looking to propose something that’s only on paper and hasn’t been discussed, it’s really about marrying two systems that have had significant amount of research into them. We think it can happen within a few years, not within a decade.
eSpace: The Center for Space Entrepreneurship, a non-profit business incubator for aerospace companies, today announced that it has added new members to its board of directors and a new member to its team of government liaisons.
Already lauded for workforce development programs that encourage high school and college students to enter the aerospace industry, eSpace now fortifies its position as mentor with high-level, connected advisors and guides who can help space entrepreneurs succeed in the highly-regulated, tight-knit aerospace industry during a recessionary economy.
Scaled Composites has completed the first series of tests on the rocket motor for the SpaceShipTwo spacecraft, clearing a major milestone toward testing of the suborbital tourism vehicle, Virgin Galactic President Will Whitehorn said on Thursday.
The newly formed Space Systems business area of Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) will debut at the National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs March 30th. The Space Systems business area was established in 2009 through the merger of SNC subsidiary, MicroSat Systems, and SpaceDev, which was acquired by SNC in late 2008.