Sierra Nevada is planning additional glide tests in the fall. using its Dream Chaser engineering test vehicle.


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The competition heats up: Sierra Nevada is planning additional glide tests in the fall. using its Dream Chaser engineering test vehicle.

This is the same test vehicle that crashed last October during its first glide test when one landing gear failed to deploy properly. The glide test itself was a success however, as the vehicle did a controlled unmanned glide perfectly to the runway, and the failed landing gear was one that the spacecraft will not use once completed.

Note also that these announced flight tests will occur after NASA eliminates one of the companies competing for the final crew ferrying contract to ISS. This suggests that Sierra Nevada plans to continue development of Dream Chaser, regardless of whether they get the contract or not.

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5 comments

  • wodun

    “This suggests that Sierra Nevada plans to continue development of Dream Chaser, regardless of whether they get the contract or not.”

    Aren’t they working deals with ESA or individual European countries?

  • mpthompson

    If I recall correctly, there was a deal announced with Germany a few months back.

    I wonder what the chances are that Boeing is the odd man out in the commercial crew deal. I could see NASA wanting a winged vehicle for a number of reasons regardless of the technical merits for such a vehicle versus a capsule.

  • Kelly Starks

    To my knowledge, SNC has only made a deal with ESA to use their docking equipment. But there was some suggestion that it could allow the EU manned space access. Not sure if more manned access via someone elses ship.

  • Kelly Starks

    The 3 bidders are all going at various tactics.
    Boeing highest quality, highest cost, and a Orion like configuration. Boeing would be the safe choice, and choosing another Orion like configuration could suggest they are still convinced of the Orion configuration superiority. But if it looks to Orion like it could threaten support for Orion, and hence endanger the agencies future.

    Dream Chaser significantly cheaper, and offering a lifting body runway landing and gentler G-loads, while still having a blue ribbon set of organizations on the team, and good quality ship on the highest quality launcher. The fact they have continued with the project on their own money without significant NASA support shows commitment. Its a very different craft then Orion and could be said to compliment it – but might be said to imply Orion’s shape isn’t the only obvious choice. Also NASA did not choose them in the last funding selection. No way to know if they are more confident in them now.

    SpaceX is far lower cost (Dragon cost SpaceX only about twice the cost of Dream Chasers life support system??) and quality, inexperienced team, but lots of political and PR clout.

    As to which of these could get a win, if any, is a real open question.

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