SNC’s Dream Chaser Passes Another NASA Milestone

Dream Chaser engineer Liz Antognoli works on the payload mock-up demonstration. Image Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation

March 24, 2019 – Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Dream Chaser spacecraft passed NASA’s Integrated Review Milestone 5 (IR5), a key status check on SNC’s performance of a variety of ground and flight operations.

IR5 demonstrates that the Dream Chaser team is on track to operate the space vehicle in advance of the first mission to the International Space Station under the Commercial Resupply Services Contract 2 (CRS-2). 

“This milestone is a great accomplishment for the team focused on operations development and demonstration. It shows we can operate the Dream Chaser from the ground, including getting critical science in and out of the vehicle,” said John Curry, CRS-2 program director within SNC’s Space Systems business area.

The review included development of the vehicle’s flight computers and software, mission simulator and Mission Control Center.  SNC also performed cargo demonstrations using high fidelity mock-ups of the vehicle and its cargo module, showing loading and unloading time and efficiency.

Milestone testing took place at SNC’s Louisville, Colorado and NASA Kennedy Space Center facilities.  Data was also used from the Dream Chaser 2017 free-flight test at Edwards Air Force Base, California, with the help of NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center.

“Our Dream Chaser team continues to successfully execute milestones as we move closer to getting this spacecraft into space,” said Fatih Ozmen, SNC’s owner and CEO.  “The orbital spacecraft is being built and this milestone demonstrates the vehicle keeps passing key reviews and is making great strides.”

Dream Chaser continues to meet technical and scheduled milestones on its way to first flight in spring 2021. The Dream Chaser will conduct at least six orbiting flights to the space station, delivering equipment and supplies to advance space exploration and then safely return life science and other time-critical items on a conventional runway. 

Owned and operated by SNC, the Dream Chaser spacecraft is a reusable, multi-mission space utility vehicle. It is capable of transportation services to and from low-Earth orbit 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 International Space Station under the Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contract. All Dream Chaser CRS-2 cargo missions are planned to land at Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility.