Sierra Nevada Corp. And German Aerospace Partners Complete Dream Chaser Study

SNC's Dream Chaser Science Mission Mock-Up. Image Credit: Sierra Nevada Corp.

SNC’s Dream Chaser Science Mission Mock-Up. Image Credit: Sierra Nevada Corp.

February 3, 2015 – Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Space Systems and OHB System AG (OHB) announce the completion of the initial Dream Chaser for European Utilization (DC4EU) study co-funded by the Space Administration of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and OHB. OHB and DLR are both based in Germany.

As announced by the companies in late 2013, SNC and OHB entered into an agreement to study the feasibility of using SNC’s Dream Chaser spacecraft for a variety of missions. The DC4EU study thoroughly reviewed applications for the Dream Chaser including crewed and uncrewed flights to low-Earth orbit (LEO) for missions such as microgravity science, satellite servicing and active debris removal (ADR).

“The inherent design advantages of the Dream Chaser reusable lifting body spacecraft make it an ideal vehicle for a broad range of space applications,” said Dr. Fritz Merkle, member of the Executive Management Board of OHB AG. “We partnered with SNC to study how the design of the Dream Chaser can be used to advance European interests in space. The study results confirm the viability of using the spacecraft for microgravity science and ADR. DC4EU can benefit the entire international space community with its unique capabilities. We look forward to further maturing our design with SNC as we expand our partnership.”

In addition to the study, OHB supported SNC as an exhibitor at the American Society for Gravitational Space Research Conference in late October. During the conference, SNC presented the Dream Chaser spacecraft microgravity research capability for the first time including the debut of a full scale mock-up of the Dream Chaser for Science mission variant.

The DC4EU study is SNC’s first contracted international effort to explore the broad capabilities of the Dream Chaser vehicle.

“We highly value our partnership with the German Aerospace Center and industry teammates, we see this study as the first step towards achieving broad scientific and servicing applications for international missions,” said Dr. John Olson, vice president of Space Exploration Systems for SNC’s Space Systems. “SNC is currently working with OHB on the next phase of our ongoing DC4EU collaboration together with DLR and will be announcing further details in the near future.”

SNC’s Dream Chaser is a multi-mission-capable space utility vehicle that is able to flexibly operate as an independent science platform, logistics enabler, or orbital servicing vehicle with the ability to deploy, retrieve, repair, replace, refuel, or assemble items in space. Dream Chaser provides the only reusable, human-rated, lifting-body spacecraft with a commercial runway landing capability, anywhere in the world.