Sierra Nevada Corp. Completes Safety and Performance Milestones

SNC's Dream Chaser® Main Propulsion System Test. Photo Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation

SNC’s Dream Chaser® Main Propulsion System Test. Photo Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation

Sparks, Nevada. July 9, 2014 – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has completed a major Main Propulsion System (MPS) and Reaction Control System (RCS) risk reduction milestone for the Dream Chaser Space System, maturing the design of each system close to Critical Design Review (CDR). The milestone positions SNC one step closer to restoring U.S. crew transportation to low-Earth orbit.

SNC completed the work for milestone 9a under its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability agreement with NASA. In total, SNC has received over 80 percent of the total award value of the agreement, having successfully completed 10 of 13 milestones.

The Main Propulsion System is based on SNC’s patented rocket motor technology. To date, SNC has performed hundreds of rocket motor test firings at its Poway, California, facility advancing the motor technology with each test. The Dream Chaser MPS will not only power the spacecraft in orbit, it also offers a unique abort capability while on the launch pad and throughout the flight trajectory, unlike human space transportation capsules. The MPS technology used on the Dream Chaser results in a safe runway landing during an abort scenario, further reducing risk to the crew, spacecraft and payload.

The RCS, which is being designed by Orbital Technologies Corporation, will provide precise on-orbit control of the Dream Chaser spacecraft. The RCS will provide maneuvering capability to allow for the accurate docking of the Dream Chaser to destinations in low-Earth orbit. Dream Chaser is a multi-mission capable spacecraft that has the ability to operate as an independent science platform or as a logistics vehicle to retrieve, repair, replace, assemble or deploy items in space.

“Safety is paramount in the design of the Dream Chaser Space System,” said Mark N. Sirangelo, corporate vice president of SNC’s Space Systems. “It is driven by reliability, rigorous quality assurance, consistent performance and extensive testing and analysis. In passing this milestone we are able to validate our safety and performance, while decreasing the risk for each of these systems. Completing this milestone moves the Dream Chaser closer to the Critical Design Review of our complete system.”