Sierra Nevada update

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docm

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Flight Global.....


credit: Sierra Nevada / caption: Sierra Nevada's Dreamchaser docks with the International Space Station

In the picture above Sierra Nevada Corporation's Dreamchaser reusable vehicle concept docks with the International Space Station. Of NASA's five Commercial Crew Development initiative funded space act agreements announced on 2 February Sierra Nevada won the largest sum, $20 million out of a total fund of $50 million

Sierra Nevada's Mark Sirangelo told Hyperbola: "We are planning to mature our rocket motor system and develop an early prototype drop test vehicle under this programme and supplementing it with our own resources. It is only an eight month programme in its current form. Our programme goal is to have a usable orbital vehicle in service by 2014. The vehicle will take seven crew and critical cargo to and from [low Earth orbit] destinations and be able to land on a 3,000m [9,800ft] runway. Our team consists of seven prominent space companies and universities all with considerable experience."
 
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docm

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The feasibility of integrating Dream Chaser™ spacecraft on Atlas V launch vehicle has been investigated at a preliminary level, and found to be promising. The preferred configuration identified in this study is a fully-fueled Dream Chaser™ installed without a fairing on top of an Atlas x22. The Atlas x22 vehicle includes a dual-engine Centaur surrounded by a new cylindrical 3.8-m diameter fairing/interstage adapter, and two standard solid strap-on boosters. The primary launch site would be Launch Complex 41 at the CCAFS.

Estimated performance of this vehicle is sufficient to carry 2,000 – 3,000 kg of internal cargo to the ISS, with expansion capability available by adding SRBs (up to a maximum of five). The Atlas V reliability record is exemplary; however, in the event of an ascent abort, this configuration appears to offer the best capability for a rapid, clean Dream Chaser™ separation. The cross-range capability of a fully-fueled Dream Chaser™ spacecraft gives it the ability to reach an acceptable landing site from an abort anywhere on the nominal trajectory and perform a normal runway landing. This includes an ability to abort directly off the launch pad to the nearby Shuttle Landing Facility.
 
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nimbus

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As a layman I can't help but think that ability to abort so safely right off the pad is one thing that, on its own, could've brought Dreamchaser back from the dark and into the spotlight again.
 
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docm

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Sierra Nevada/Dream Chaser article in Aviation Week....



Sierra Nevada Building On NASA Design

Feb 19, 2010


Sierra Nevada Corp. has $20 million in federal stimulus funds for its Dream Chaser commercial crew launch vehicle, but the company has already applied many times that amount in NASA funding for its high-stakes effort to build a private route to space for the agency’s astronauts.

The Colorado-based company is modeling Dream Chaser on the HL-20 lifting-body vehicle that NASA started as a potential International Space Station (ISS) crew rescue vehicle, which would have been able to transport a full station crew fleeing an emergency to a horizontal landing on runways anywhere in the world.

Now Sierra Nevada wants to use the HL-20s lifting-body shape to go in the other direction, riding an Atlas V rocket to orbit with an up to seven-person crew for the ISS, or with space-suited specialists trained to service other spacecraft in orbit. Because it was publicly funded, data from NASA’s HL-20 development effort is publicly available.

“We could take a vehicle that had almost 10 years of development and hundreds of millions of dollars of work,” says Mark N. Sirangelo, corporate vice president of Sierra Nevada Space Systems. “There are 1,400 wind-tunnel tests, [and] a variety of work that was being done. We largely kept the outer mold-line of the vehicle intact, so we were able to utilize much of the [previous] research,“ Sirangelo says.
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Sierra Nevada plans to upgrade the HL-20 with composites and other modern materials. The cylindrical shape of its pressure vessel may make it easier to use composites than the complex capsule shape would allow (AW&ST Feb. 1, p. 38). The company has assembled a team that includes Boeing Phantom Works, to build the test articles; Draper Laboratory, for guidance, navigation and control; Aerojet, for reaction control system technology; the University of Colorado, for human-rating; Adam Works, for composites; and MDA, for help with systems engineering.

For life support, both Oceaneering and Paragon Space Development Corp. are in the running (see p. 54).

The Dream Chaser was a runner-up in NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation System (COTS) competition, and Sierra Nevada chose to sign an unfunded Space Act agreement to remain part of the COTS program even without any of the program’s roughly $500 million in federal seed money.

Sirangelo says Sierra Nevada has spent more than $10 million of its own funds on Dream Chaser, and has completed four COTS milestones under that arrangement. The investment, and the Space Act approach, should pay off for the company when NASA begins looking for a commercial carrier to deliver its astronauts to the ISS.
 
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EarthlingX

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Related news, i don't remember seeing it somewhere else on the forum, but could be wrong :
Sierra Nevada Corporation Selected Under NASA’s Human Space Transportation ProgramSNC Dream ChaserTM Space Program to Provide Commercial Crew Capability
Sparks, Nevada – Februray 15th, 2010 – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is pleased to announce that it has been selected to begin development of commercial crew transportation system to and from low earth orbit as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) initiative and competition. It is part of an innovative effort by NASA to foster entrepreneurial activity leading to high tech growth in engineering, analysis, design and research and to promote economic growth.
 
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EarthlingX

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www.sncorp.com : Sierra Nevada Space Systems Successfully Competes Two Major Nasa Human Space Flight Development Milestones
Press Release: October 11, 2010


SNC fires hybrid rocket motor and begins production on Dream Chaser Vehicle

Louisville, CO – October 11, 2010 – The Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Space Systems Group announces the successful completion of two critical milestones for NASA’s Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) Program. On September 21, 2010, SNC completed three successful test firings of a single hybrid rocket motor in one day. SNC’s newly opened rocket test facility in San Diego County, California, hosted NASA personnel for a rocket motor manufacturing review as well as the motor firings, including one firing under vacuum ignition conditions. The tests, which simulated a complete nominal mission profile, demonstrated the multiple restart capability of SNC’s proprietary hybrid rocket motor. This same hybrid rocket will be used as the main propulsion system on the Dream Chaser during the orbital operations.



Earlier this summer, SNC completed its second major milestone. This milestone was focused on the development of the primary tooling necessary to build the composite structure of the Dream Chaser vehicle. The tooling required under the milestone has been completed and is now being used to begin fabrication of the first critical aeroshell structures which will be tested later this year. NASA conducted a thorough review of all the elements of the two milestones and has certified milestone completion with no corrective actions.

“The successful completion of these milestones illustrates the value of the partnership between the Sierra Nevada Corporation and NASA. SNC’s rapid hardware development capability, combined with NASA insight and assistance, has resulted in significant real progress on our Dream Chaser human spacecraft. I'm proud of the progress made by our industry/government team,” said Jim Voss, Vice President of SNC Space Exploration Systems. In early 2010, NASA announced that SNC was the winner of the largest CCDev Space Act Agreement aimed at advancing technology and reducing risk for a commercial human spacecraft.

Mark N. Sirangelo, SNC’s Corporate Vice President for Space Systems commented, “SNC has four major milestones under the CCDev 10 month program. All three of our completed milestones were finished on time and on budget. NASA conducted a thorough review of all the elements of the milestones and has certified milestone completion with no corrective actions. I’d like to thank all of our CCDev Dream Chaser team for this terrific accomplishment.”



The completion of these milestones build upon SNC’s long standing successful relationship with NASA. The Dream Chaser spacecraft is based on NASA’s HL-20 crew vehicle, with a strong development heritage. It will launch on an existing United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle, and will have on-board propulsion utilizing SNC’s proprietary hybrid motor technology. It is a piloted spacecraft which will be able to carry a crew of seven as well as critical cargo to the ISS and other low Earth orbit destinations, and return crew and fragile experiments to a runway landing. This combination of space heritage and proven technology will enable SNC’s unique space transportation system to effectively and reliably carry crew and cargo to low Earth orbit. SNC expects to work in full cooperation with NASA to ensure the highest degree of safety on all aspects of the program and on each mission.

SNC is the prime contractor for the Dream Chaser program and leads a team of experienced space companies working to build and begin to operate this orbital flight system by 2014. The SNC Space Systems Group was formed through the merger of three heritage space companies and has 20 years of space flight experience having participated successfully in over 300 space missions.

About Sierra Nevada Corporation
Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is known for its rapid, innovative, and agile technology solutions in electronics, aerospace, avionics, space, propulsion, micro-satellite, aircraft and communications systems for both the private and public sectors. Founded in 1963, SNC’s seven unique business areas employ approximately 2000 people in 35 different locations in 20 states – all of whom are dedicated to providing leading-edge solutions to SNC’s dynamic customer base.

Over its 46 year history, SNC has remained focused on providing its customers the very best in diversified technologies to meet their needs and has a strong and proven track record of success. SNC has grown into one of the Top Woman-Owned Federal Contractors in the United States while maintaining its reputation for innovation and agility. The company continues to focus its growth on the commercial sector through internal advancements and outside acquisitions, including the emerging markets of telemedicine, nanotechnology, energy and net-centric operations. For more information on SNC visit www.sncorp.com


MEDIA CONTACT: jim.voss@sncorp.com or 720-407-3241
 
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EarthlingX

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Boris_Badenov":29tww4fl said:
CCDev Update.
Lots of info & some cool pix too. Yes, they're bending metal on Dreamchaser!!!
There's even an update on mysterious Blue Origin, it's pusher launch escape system, and composite pressure vessel .. !

And more ..
 
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docm

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A presser from the SNC division doing Dream Chaser's tooling -

Link....

ENGLEWOOD, Colo.—Nov. 2010--Straight Flight, Inc. an FAA/EASA certified repair station and aviation industry leader, recently earned its Class I Composite Airframe rating, paving the way for SFI to perform repairs on carbon fiber, fiberglass and Kevlar components as well as perform metal-to-metal bonding in their new climate controlled and monitored shop.

“We keep in touch with industry and these facility enhancements will allow Straight Flight to continue to offer premier aircraft repair services that meet new manufacturing standards of composite aircraft,” stated general manager Ernest L. Smith, IV.

Straight Flight is currently fabricating tooling and outer aeroshell panels used by their sister company, SpaceDev, Inc., for the NASA reusable launch vehicle (RLV) program known as the Dream Chaser™.

Straight Flight’s technicians fabricate and repair all types of composite materials from small to large in a fully equipped composite shop. An elaborate dust control system keeps composite sanding dust to a bare minimum, prepreg materials are stored at sub-zero temperatures in a walk-in freezer and there is a digitally-controlled Wisconsin curing oven.
 
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vulture4

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I remember this from the HL-20 and CERV days. The concept was rejected by JSC and replaced with a common capsule and parachute. Personally I think it has some promise but I think pure liquid propulsion would reduce operational cost.
 
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docm

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Well, it's very real now - as long as NASA and/or the pols don't screw it up....again.
 
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stevekk

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Those carbon fiber panels look pretty cool. It looks like the Dreamchaser is really coming together, although we haven't seen any pictures of the interior of the craft. I assume it's just a aluminum shell at this point.

I'm trying to figure out how this thing really docks with the ISS. The picture shows the tail end connected to an ISS docking port. Isn't that where the engine is located ? Is there some type of passage way at the back end of the craft ?
 
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bushwhacker

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stevekk, from what i see in that picture there are two orbital manuvering engines either side of the docking adaptor.. no need for a central motor
 
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pathfinder_01

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stevekk":eac4aa7w said:
I'm trying to figure out how this thing really docks with the ISS. The picture shows the tail end connected to an ISS docking port. Isn't that where the engine is located ? Is there some type of passage way at the back end of the craft ?
Yes, I have been trying to find a picture of the interior, but the spacecraft seats people towards the front and cargo to the back with a little tunnel allowing you to either exit the craft on the ground or at the ISS. There are some old pictures of the HL20 floating around the web.
 
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docm

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My understanding is that there is a docking port at the rear between the engines with a central tunnel to the cabin, and engine bays to either side. Also understand that the pressure hull is composite like SS2 and Blue Origin's. Also a hatch atop the flight deck.
 
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docm

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Link....

"This Nov. 19, 2010 photo provided by Sierra Nevada Space Systems shows the company's first test vehicle, for the Dream Chaser spacecraft, DC1, which shows the Dream Chaser on its way to start structural testing. The company hopes that by 2014 the Dream Chaser will makes its first orbital flight and then eventually take space travelers to the International Space Station. NASA's effort to farm out astronaut trips to the International Space Station to private companies over the next decade is under fire again, this time by federal deficit hit men."
 
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Boris_Badenov

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docm":3sf5jv6r said:
This Nov. 19, 2010 photo provided by Sierra Nevada Space Systems shows the company's first test vehicle, for the Dream Chaser spacecraft,
That pic sure clears up the mystery of the rear crew access. :geek:
 
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