SNC Announces Completion of Dream Chaser Incremental Critical Design Review

Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser spacecraft. Image Source: NASA

Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser spacecraft. Image Source: NASA

Sparks, Nevada. January 30, 2014. Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announces the completion of the Dream Chaser® Incremental Critical Design Review (CDR) with the completion of Milestone 10a under its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) agreement with NASA.

Mark N. Sirangelo, corporate vice president and head of SNC’s Space Systems made the announcement at the Annual Reliability and Maintainability Symposium (RAMS®) during his keynote address. RAMS is the premier event in the reliability, availability, and maintainability engineering disciplines. The RAMS event attracted hundreds of safety and reliability practitioners and engineering leaders from around the world.

“SNC’s Dream Chaser program continues its steady progress forward on the way to flight certification by completing this important milestone which begins our Dream Chaser Critical Design Review process,” said Sirangelo. “SNC is firmly committed to providing the safest, most reliable, and efficiently maintainable orbital transportation system with, the Dream Chaser Space System, by having the most experienced technical, safety, reliability and quality assurance team possible. The team is definitely ensuring that we incorporate the latest technology from all of these processes into SNC’s design.”

NASA added Milestone 10a to SNC’s CCiCap initiative in 2013 as part of the expansion of SNC’s program. During this entry milestone review, NASA approved the critical design products, plans, and processes that are being used to develop the Dream Chaser Space System (DCSS), which includes the Dream Chaser spacecraft, Atlas launch vehicle, mission and ground systems. The CDR level products will also support the subsystem and element critical design reviews that are occurring throughout the year and culminating with system level reviews scheduled to ensure all technical performance requirements are met while meeting Dream Chaser Program schedule and budget. The DCSS fabrication, assembly, integration, and test process has begun to support the recently announced November 2016 orbital launch.

John Turner, SNC’s director of safety and mission assurance for the Dream Chaser program, and member of the RAMS management committee added his thoughts, “I had the privilege of spending over 26 years at NASA working on planning, development, operations and safety aspects of the space shuttle, International Space Station, and Constellation Human Spaceflight programs. My main focus was and remains to ensure that all flight programs were safe, successful and exceeded mission targets. We are incorporating those best practices and lessons learned into our CDR processes for the Dream Chaser. We also have a world class team with strong experience in safety and risk management to ensure that we certify Dream Chaser as the safest human spaceflight vehicle yet to fly.”

David Oberhettinger, the general chair of the RAMS® 2014 symposium held in Colorado Springs, Colorado, noted, “RAMS® is excited to have companies like SNC participate in our annual conference and benefit from the unique opportunities that we offer. Conference participants gain insights into latest advances in the field of reliability and maintainability than can be immediately applied to assure high product reliability, safety and mission success.”