SNC’s Dream Chaser arrives in Colorado for final assembly in Louisville
Wednesday October 16, 2019
LOUISVILLE -- Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announced the arrival of the primary vehicle structure to the company’s Louisville, Colorado production facility, kicking off full assembly of the Dream Chaser® spacecraft ahead of its first mission for NASA in 2021.
The structure is the largest piece of technology to make up Dream Chaser and the most advanced high-temperature composite spaceframe ever built, the company said.
“It’s an extraordinary engineering and manufacturing accomplishment,” said Eren Ozmen, chairwoman and president of Nevada-based SNC.
“Our team has been looking forward to this day for a long time so that we can fully assemble America’s spaceplane in preparation for its first mission for NASA.”
The primary structure is a pressurized composite structure that will contain pressurized payloads heading to the International Space Station.
The structure was manufactured by subcontractor Lockheed Martin and recently shipped from their Fort Worth, Texas facility to Louisville, where Dream Chaser is being built and integrated by SNC.
“As the first building block of the spacecraft, it represents the first critical path hardware to be received in Colorado and launch of the assembly, integration and test (AI&T) phase of the program,” said former NASA space shuttle commander, astronaut and retired USAF pilot Steve Lindsey, now senior VP of strategy for SNC’s Space Systems business area.
“Dream Chaser is truly a state-of-art vehicle with cutting edge technology. This structure exemplifies its unique design and complexity.”
Dream Chaser is scheduled to launch starting in late 2021 for at least six cargo resupply and return services to the International Space Station for NASA under the Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contract.
The Dream Chaser Cargo System can carry up to 12,000 pounds of supplies and other cargo, and returns delicate science to Earth with a gentle runway landing.