Friday May 26, 2017 0 comments
SPARKS, Nev. -- Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) successfully passed the third integration milestone for the Dream Chaser program under the NASA Commercial Resupply Services (CRS2) program, bringing it a major step closer to providing resupply services to the International Space Station (ISS).
CRS2 Integration Review #3 (IR3) confirmed SNC’s Dream Chaser Cargo System design meets NASA’s key requirements and maximizes probability of mission success during future flights.
The spacecraft is scheduled for at least six missions between 2019 and 2024. The reliability of the Dream Chaser design was also thoroughly reviewed as part of NASA’s Phase I Safety Review Process, which successfully demonstrated safety and mission assurance criteria.
The reviews covered all stages of mission operations including ground, launch, flight and landing, SNC said.
“Passing the third CRS2 integration milestone is a really big deal for the program and its future,” said Steve Lindsey, VP of Space Exploration Systems for SNC’s Space Systems business area located in Louisville.
“We are proud of this accomplishment and are well on our way towards completing the next critical milestone and the remaining developmental phases. It’s a great feeling to be executing all our milestones on schedule and to be moving forward to our operational flight.”
The spacecraft’s unique cargo design transports more cargo mass (5,500 kilograms) to the ISS each mission. In addition, a significant amount of cargo, almost 2,000 kilograms is directly returned from the ISS to a gentle runway landing at a pinpoint location.
Dream Chaser’s all non-toxic systems design allows personnel to simply walk up to the vehicle after landing, providing immediate access to time-critical science as soon as the wheels stop.
The complex and thorough review process found no significant design, build or system issues and underscored the Dream Chaser’s readiness for flight, SNC said.
In addition to completing this milestone, SNC said the Dream Chaser atmospheric test vehicle is in preparations for flight testing that will help verify these designs. The spacecraft is currently testing at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California, having just successfully completed Phase One ground testing leading up to its second free flight test later this year.
Owned and operated by SNC, the Dream Chaser spacecraft is a reusable, multi-mission space utility vehicle (SUV). It is capable of 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.
The Dream Chaser Cargo System was selected by NASA to provide cargo delivery and disposal services to the ISS under the Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS2) contract. All Dream Chaser CRS2 cargo missions are planned to land at Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility.