NASA approves 2020 launch window for first Dream Chaser flight


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Capitalism in space: Sierra Nevada has gotten the okay from NASA to aim for a 2020 launch window for the first flight of its reusable Dream Chaser mini-shuttle.

SNC announced Feb. 7 that it had received “authority to proceed” on that mission using the company’s Dream Chaser vehicle. The mission will launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket in late 2020. The mission is the first of six in the company’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) 2 contract it won in 2016 to transport cargo to and from the ISS. SNC received a CRS-2 contract along with current CRS providers Orbital ATK and SpaceX.

“While we won the contract a couple of years ago, the contract still needed to be validated by a task order,” said Mark Sirangelo, executive vice president of SNC’s Space Systems business area, in a Feb. 7 speech at the Federal Aviation Administration’s Commercial Space Transportation Conference here. That order, he said, is the “biggest step” to date on the program. That flight will be a “full scale, fully operational mission,” he said, even though it will represent the first orbital flight of the Dream Chaser. Orbital ATK and SpaceX, who developed their Cygnus and Dragon spacecraft, respectively, under earlier NASA Space Act Agreements, flew demonstration missions before starting their operational CRS cargo flights.

Do not be surprised if this flight does not launch on schedule. I fully expect that development will push it back into 2021, a delay that would not be unreasonable.

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2 comments

  • wodun

    I have a suggestion/request for a new series, or addendum to capitalism in space, revolving around the year 2020. Whether schedules slip or not, there is a lot of stuff of great significance that are supposed to happen in 2020. Understandable if our host doesn’t but he is going to be posting all the news on developments for these missions anyway.

  • wayne

    wodun-
    Good stuff!

    excuse while I digress….
    just for Fun:

    “2010: The Year We Make Contact”
    All These Worlds
    https://youtu.be/0zKqAbfxFsQ
    4:26

    please continue…

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