Germany has funded a study to look into using Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser for its space operations.


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The competition heats up: Germany has funded a study to look into using Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser for its space operations.

Named DC4EU (Dream Chaser for European Utilization), the project is to explore ways in which the Dream Chasercan be used to cover German and European requirements for the transportation of payloads and astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) and for deployment as a manned or unmanned space vehicle allowing German and European scientists to conduct research under weightless conditions over extended periods of time. Given the capability which the Dream Chaser has for reaching orbits at a substantially greater altitude than the ISS, the study will determine the extent to which it is able to supply satellites or remove decommissioned satellites from their orbits.

All hail competition and private enterprise! Sierra Nevada designed it. Sierra Nevada built it. Sierra Nevada owns it. If NASA decides it doesn’t want to buy it, there is no reason the company can’t sell it to someone else, for profit.

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11 comments

  • mpthompson

    I assume Dream Chaser could be sold to the EU regardless if NASA buys seats or not. It would be terrific to see the US becoming an exporter of manned access to space. I wonder if India, Japan, Canada or Australia might be interested?

  • Pzatchok

    I think they could launch DC on an Ariane V.

    Which would instantly give anyone buying it human payload capability.

    I just hate hybrid rocket engines though. But I can see the DC crew switching to an all liquid fuel rocket faster than that other launch company is.

    The fact that the DC crew is not running as many engine tests as that other company looks like they could just be sitting back a bit and waiting for better results out of them. Why waste your own money when that other guy is more than happy to toss his around freely.

  • Kelly Starks

    That would be a big change. Previously the EU really seemed to have no interest in their own maned access abilities. So DC might be in the right place in the right time.

    Boeing’s going to be kicking themselves for not going ahead with the X-37C if this goes through. They pretty much gave up looking for other markets for maned after the beatings everyone took in the 90’s, and focused on the retro/Apollo like design NASA wanted with the CST-100, but that has a heavy logistic tail.

  • wade

    Each of you have a Valid Point. Yet , getting to LEO is not That complicated . And I don’t know Where this hybrid rocket engine Stuff comes from, there Is No replacement for a kerosene/liquid ox fueled engine to achieve Pure Lift from our planet’s surface in the form of a legitimate first stage rocket engine. That Other Stuff ,and along with hydrazine and even peroxide vented propellants do Very well in space, yet Lack any Real bang at sea level.

  • Kelly Starks

    True, Kerosene/LOx does always come out on top in a good trade study. Compact, light, much more handleable and economical fuel. It even comes out better for SSTO designs.

    …but some folks like reinventing the wheel. (I’m amazed at how most NewSpace company founders start out by wanting to develop their own rocket engines?! I mean folks who start new aircraft or car companies don’t start by wanting to develop their own engines.)

    Hybrids got popular because some folks (incorrectly) thought hybrids were a lot safer and simpler. I don’t expect they’ll be populart for long.

    Pity no one seems to want to work to field clearly better designs, like Rocket/ramjet mixes, that could double your ave ISp to orbit. That would at least make some sense to try.

  • Edward

    > I mean folks who start new aircraft or car companies don’t start by wanting to develop their own engines.

    One word: Tesla.

    Even so, there are many manufacturers of internal combustions engines, but not so many of rocket engines.

  • Edward

    > Previously the EU really seemed to have no interest in their own maned access abilities.

    One word: Hermes.

  • Kelly Starks

    > One word: Tesla.

    Epic failure – but great source of fed, state money – and carbon credit sales.

    >..Even so, there are many manufacturers of internal combustions engines, but
    > not so many of rocket engines.

    About as many as for aircraft engines, and the rocket engines on the market are comparativly low cost, very high efficency adn durability. So unless your going to do some new concept or design that promises some big improvement – take off the shelf unless your egos to big.

  • Kelly Starks

    Which didn’t get much past power points.

  • Edward

    But, you explicitly said that they had “no interest” and Hermes showed that they had an interest in manned space.

    If you are wondering how the points that you make wander, this is how.

  • Edward

    > Epic failure

    No. It is still in business and doing well. I drive past it every once in a while. You would have to explain your definition of failure (as Tesla has not failed) and describe how Tesla is an epic failure.

    If you mean Solyndra, which was just down the freeway a mile or so, I would agree wholeheartedly and add “embarrassing” to the adjectives. But that is not Tesla.

    > About as many as for aircraft engines

    Once again, you are experiencing “point drift.” Your original point was car as well as aircraft engines. Now you have dropped the car engines to counter my point. This is an unfair debating tactic, making me seem incorrect when I was, in fact, correct. If you are going to respond to my counterarguments, please stick to your original point without changing it to suit the moment.

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