The engineering test article for Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Dream Chaser ‘spaceplane’ flew its long-awaited second free flight test this weekend (Nov 11, 2017) over NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, located at Edwards Air Force Base, CA.
SNC leadership will provide an update to discuss Dream Chaser’s latest milestone tomorrow afternoon, Nov 13
The company holds a multi-billion dollar Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-2) program contract with NASA to resupply the International Space Station from 2019-2024, and has its eyes set on eventual crew missions.
SNC put their test article through its first free flight Approach and Landing test, ALT-1, at Armstrong three years ago, and the test went about as good as SNC could have hoped for, until the command was given to deploy its landing gear. Only two of its three gear deployed, causing the vehicle to skid off the runway, sustaining minor structural damage.
The problem was traced to a mechanical issue with the specific landing gear, rather than something related to bad software (none of the primary systems that gave the commands that control the flight failed or had any problems).
SNC has made significant structural and systems improvements to the test article since, including the composite wings and aeroshells, and invested heavily in maturing the vehicle’s orbital avionics, guidance navigation and control, the flight software, and employed a number of new processes, all of which will be used on the orbital vehicle as well. The advanced orbital Thermal Protection System (TPS) was installed on the vehicle’s skid too, in order to do advanced testing of the actual orbital TPS.
NASA contracted SNC to fly at least six missions with their Dream Chaser under CRS-2, and the company intends to put in a bid for a crew version if NASA opens up more multi-billion dollar commercial crew contracts in the future (currently given to Boeing and SpaceX).
Engineers hope to get everything they need out of the Phase Two flight test campaign currently underway, which acts as a bridge between previous work with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and the latest vehicle currently under development for CRS missions.
The company hopes to launch their first operational Dream Chaser cargo mission to the ISS for NASA in the first half of 2019.
SNC’S DREAM CHASER TAKES STEP FORWARD TO COMMERCIAL CARGO
Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) conducted a successful free flight of its Dream Chaser spacecraft this weekend. Resembling a very small space shuttle, SNC plans to use it to take cargo to and from the International Space Station (ISS) beginning as early as 2020 as part of NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS2) contract. Saturday’s test was of a full scale version of the spacecraft that was dropped from a helicopter to descend and land on its own.
SNC released a video of the test and held a media teleconference this afternoon.
SNC’s Dream Chaser was one of three competitors for NASA’s “commercial crew” program, vying for NASA contracts to develop systems to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS) through public-private partnerships (PPPs). NASA funded several companies, including SNC, through a succession of development activities in the first half of the decade, one of which was the Commercial Crew Integrated Capabilities (CCiCAP) program.
Commercial crew was a follow-on to the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) or “commercial cargo” program that led to the SpaceX and Orbital ATK uncrewed systems that resupply ISS today — Falcon 9/Dragon and Antares/Cygnus. Orbital ATK’s most recent Cygnus launch took place yesterday.
Under these PPPs, the government and the private sector share development costs and NASA guarantees purchasing a certain amount of services, while the companies are expected to find other customers to make the business cases close. During the development phase, NASA pays the companies after they meet specific milestones. If they do not meet a milestone, they are not paid.
SNC was competing against Boeing and SpaceX for the commercial crew PPP program in the CCiCAP phase, but in 2014 NASA selected Boeing and SpaceX to continue to the next phase, Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCAP). SNC challenged the award, but lost.
SNC then decided to focus on cargo instead of crew. When NASA held a second competition (CRS2) for commercial cargo services in 2016, SNC won and was added as a third supplier. NASA promised to purchase at least six cargo flights each from SpaceX, Orbital ATK, and SNC.
SNC will use uncrewed Dream Chaser vehicles to deliver and return cargo autonomously beginning as early as 2020.
The test on Saturday is a step in that direction, although it actually was the final paid milestone in the earlier agreement it had with NASA under CCiCAP.
The vehicle used on Saturday was the same one used in a series of previous Dream Chase tests where it made captive carry or drop tests. The company is still analyzing the data from the most recent test, but SNC Corporate Vice President for Space Systems Mark Sirangelo said today that everything is looking good and there are no plans to fly this vehicle again.
Sirangelo compared the tests with this vehicle to those flown by NASA in 1977 of the space shuttle orbiter Enterprise. Enterprise also was not designed to fly in space, but only for atmospheric tests. Like the Enterprise test flights, this one took place at Edwards Air Force Base, CA and Sirangelo expressed gratitude to NASA and the Air Force for their assistance. NASA Commercial Crew Program space act agreement partner manager Mike Lee called it “a significant achievement that successfully demonstrated the final phase of atmospheric flight that will occur after re-entry from an orbital mission.”
Steve Lindsey, a former NASA astronaut who flew on five space shuttle missions, is now SNC’s Vice President for space exploration systems. At today’s media teleconference, he said that a number of upgrades were made to this vehicle for Saturday’s flight to certify systems for use on the orbital version. That includes thermal protection tiles, flight software, redundant navigation sensors, and guidance and control systems for reentry and landing. He stressed that the vehicle’s flight was completely autonomous, not like a UAV where humans are controlling it. Sirangelo noted that the flight profile included commands for the vehicle to turn left and then right, then return to the centerline during descent.
Dream Chaser will go through its Critical Design Review (CDR) next year. Dream Chaser is a lifting body whose design builds on work NASA did through the HL-20 program decades ago. The test on Saturday will inform the final design.
The CRS2 contract with NASA is guaranteed for only six flights. SNC is working to find other customers not only for cargo, but for using Dream Chaser as a space laboratory for 2-4 week periods and launching people into space. The first launch of the laboratory version of the vehicle is expected in 2021, Sirangelo said, pointing out that the company has received an “overwhelming” response to its call for science proposals issued in September at the International Astronautical Congress in Australia. NASA is “the first client,” but SNC has direct or indirect agreements with over 20 space agencies and United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs, he added.
Sirangelo said the company is planning to build two orbital vehicles at the moment and each is designed for at least 15 flights each with a turnaround time of 60 days.
SNC already has signed an agreement with the United Launch Alliance (ULA) to send the first Dream Chaser into orbit aboard a ULA Atlas V rocket. He said, however, that Dream Chaser will be able to be launched on a variety of launch vehicles, not only Atlas V, which is due to be phased out in the early 2020s. Dream Chaser also can land in many locations, not only at NASA facilities.
SNC is owned by Fatih and Eren Ozmen. Fatih Ozmen was one of three witnesses on the “commercial” panel at the first meeting of the National Space Council last month. The other two companies were SpaceX and Blue Origin.
Quelle:Space and Technology Policy Group
‘Dream Chaser’ Proves To Be Dream Come True For Colorado Engineers
Last weekend, a test version of the Dream Chaser – a reusable spacecraft similar to a shuttle – made a successful free flight and landing in California.
More than 400 engineers and employees of the Sierra Nevada Corporation location in Louisville built the autonomous space vehicle.
“We’re really excited about the progress we’re making,” systems engineer Kathy Benzin said.
Slung below the helicopter on a 200-foot tether, the full-scale atmospheric test version of the Dream Chaser was hoisted to an altitude of 12,324 feet and released.
“Up until that point, everyone kind of takes a breath and then watches it happen,” Benzin told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann. “You’re always a little bit nervous before you’re actually doing a test like this because you think you’ve done all the work and testing to make it happen and successful, but you never really know until right when you push the button.”
The 30-foot craft then made a completely autonomous descent and landing on an Edwards Air Force Base runway north of Los Angeles.
Unlike other spacecraft that splashdown in oceans or touchdown in faraway deserts, the Dream Chaser’s successful test flight proved it can gently land on a runway.
“By doing that it makes things a lot simpler,” Mark Sirangelo, Corporate Vice President of Sierra Nevada Space Systems, said. “It keeps what’s on board a lot safer, and it also allows us to take that valuable experiment and take it to where it needs to go as quickly as possible.”
Saturday’s 60-second free flight brought Sierra Nevada Corp. another step closer to achieving unmanned cargo flights to and from the International Space Station.
Those missions could begin as early as 2020.
“This allows us to take up to about 10,000 pounds of cargo to the space station, and really importantly, bring home the science that’s up there. Right now it’s a big problem because we can’t get all the science that’s up there down.”
The Dream Chaser has been in development by Sierra Nevada Corp. for more than 10 years. It has been significantly upgraded since its previous free flight in 2013 which ended with a mishap when its left main landing gear did not deploy properly.
Orbital flights will be made by a space-capable version of the Dream Chaser that will be launched atop a booster rocket. Sierra Nevada has selected Centennial, Colorado-based United Launch Alliance’s Atlas 5 to launch the first two cargo missions, scheduled to blast off from Cape Canaveral, Florida and land at Kennedy Space Center.
Quelle: CBS Denver
Dream Chaser for Canada
The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is organizing a 2-day event - Dream Chaser for Canada. It will take place on - at the CSAHeadquarters in Saint-Hubert, Quebec.
The purpose of the event is to provide details about the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Dream Chaser project and establish a forum for discussions between SNC and Canadian companies and academia involved in space-related research and development activities. The objective is to create synergies and partnership opportunities with SNC, allowing Canadian firms and researchers to contribute their unique expertise to space exploration.
Participating firms and researchers will have the opportunity to learn about the technical aspects of the Dream Chaser project, meet with the SNC engineering team and discuss mutually beneficial capabilities.
Participation in the event is free. However, please note that space is limited and prompt registration is recommended.
The event will take place in the CSA's Conference Centre which can accommodate 13 exhibition booths (standard size of 6 by 6 feet). The exhibition space will be available on a first come first served basis, also free of charge.
The Dream Chaser® spacecraft is a reusable, multi-mission space utility vehicle. It is capable of providing transportation services to and from low-Earth orbit, where the International Space Station (ISS) resides, and is the only commercial, lifting-body vehicle capable of a runway landing.
In January 2016, NASA awarded a cargo contract to SNC under its Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) program for the ISS. SNC and NASA have since executed a long term public private partnership contract extending cooperation until at least 2024 and providing for the acquisition of a minimum of six Dream Chaser missions by NASA.
Dream Chaser for Canada
December 6-7, 2017
Canadian Space Agency
6767 Route de l'Aéroport
|8:00 – 8:45||Registration|
|8:45 – 9:15||Opening remarks||Luc Brûlé, Vice-President, CSA and Mark Sirangelo, Corporate VP Space Systems|
|9:15 – 10:00||SNC and CRS 2 Overview||Mark Sirangelo, Corporate VP Space Systems|
|10:00 – 11:00||Technical Overview of the Dream Chaser, including the cargo module||Steve Lindsey, VP Space Exploration|
|11:00 – 11:15||Break|
|11:15 – 11:45||Crew Vehicle||Steve Lindsey, VP Space Exploration|
|11:45 – 12:30||Mission Concepts||Neeraj Gupta, Manager, Advanced Development Programs|
|12:30 – 13.30||Lunch (can be purchased at CSA cafeteria)|
|13:30 – 14:15||Future Space Architecture and Deep Space Gateway Overview||John Roth, VP Strategy & Business Development|
|14:15 – 14:45||Deep Space Gateway full scale prototype and demonstration||Neeraj Gupta, Manager, Advanced Development Programs|
|14:45 – 15:00||ITAR/SNC Contracting Process||John Roth, VP Strategy & Business Development|
|15:00 – 15:30||Break|
|15:30 – 17:30||One-on-one meetings between Canadian space industry players and SNCDream Chaser team||To be confirmed by email to each participant|
|19:00||The restaurant, Messina, located at 329 Rue Saint-Charles West, Longueuil has been reserved for networking and informal dinner (food and beverages to be purchased individually)|
|8:15 – 9:00||Registration|
|9:00 – 10:30||One-on-one meetings between Canadian space industry and SNC Dream Chaser team||To be confirmed by email to each participant|
|10:30 – 11:00||Break|
|11:00 – 12:30||One-on-one meetings between Canadian space industry and SNC Dream Chaser team||To be confirmed by email to each participant|
|12:30 – 13:30||Lunch (can be purchased at CSA cafeteria)|
|13:30 – 15:00||One-on-one meetings between Canadian space industry and SNC Dream Chaser team||To be confirmed by email to each participant|
|15:00 – 15:30||Break|
|15:30 – 17:00||One-on-one meetings between Canadian space industry and SNC Dream Chaser team||To be confirmed by email to each participant|
Please note that on December 7, 2017, a parallel program comprised of various sessions by government officials will take place from 9:00 to 15:00. The CSA, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), Global Affairs Canada (GAC), National Research Council (NRC), Export Development Canada (EDC) and Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will present their organizations' respective policies and programs in support of innovation, business development and export opportunities for Canadian industry.
Quelle: Canadian Space Agency