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The competition heats up: Sierra Nevada (SNC) has announced a new effort to gain international customers for its Dream Chaser manned spacecraft.
From the press release:
SNC’s Global Project offers clients across the globe access to low Earth orbit (LEO) without the time, resources and financial burden of developing the necessary capabilities or infrastructure to support a mature human spaceflight program. The Global Project utilizes the Dream Chaser spacecraft as a baseline vehicle which, in turn, can be customized by the client for an array of missions to support government, commercial, academic and international goals. The individual mission customization of the Global Project can be applied to both crewed and uncrewed variants for a single dedicated mission or suite of missions.
This is excellent news, as it tells us that the company is not giving up on the spacecraft, and intends to push hard to finish it. Not only are they working make it a viable product to many customers and thus obtain the construction financing to build it outside of NASA’s manned program, they also appear ready to bid on NASA’s second round of cargo launches, using Dream Chaser as an unmanned cargo freighter to ISS.
In fact, I would not be surprised if NASA chooses Dream Chaser over Dragon for that second round of cargo deliveries. Dragon is slated for the manned flights, so the agency will need another vehicle to replace it. Why not give the contract to Sierra Nevada, thus providing NASA with two manned vehicles and three cargo vehicles, all capable of accessing the station.
All in all, this increasingly looks like a win-win situation for everyone.