Sierra Nevada Space Systems (SNC) has announced completion of two significant milestones as part of the Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) Program. SNC is building the Dream Chaser, a Space Shuttle-like human spacecraft for NASA to provide astronaut transport to the International Space Station (ISS). Under the CCDev2 program, SNC will conduct multiple spacecraft hardware milestones and other development activities over the next year, culminating in a system-level Preliminary Design Review (PDR) and preparation for atmospheric flight test of the Dream Chaser. As the only company under contract to NASA for development of a Shuttle-like spacecraft, SNC is positioned to quickly restore US capability to transport humans to the ISS after the Space Shuttle retires and to support other human spaceflight markets in low Earth orbit.
Mark Sirangelo, head of SNC Space Systems, reported the results. "The first milestone completed under the CCDev2 program was a major step in the development of the spacecraft - a Systems Requirement Review (SRR), where SNC validated their requirements based on NASA's draft Commercial Crew Program Requirements. The SRR was successfully completed on June 1, 2011 with participation by NASA and SNC industry partners. All the requirements were approved and will be used to guide the design of the Dream Chaser to ensure that it meets the pending NASA certification requirements. Our fast-paced SNC Dream Chaser development program completed its second milestone only two weeks after Milestone 1. This milestone was a review of the selection of the improved airfoil fin shape to be used on the Dream Chaser. This new fin will improve the handling qualities of the spacecraft as it flies in the atmosphere on return from space to a gentle runway landing. Wind tunnel testing and computational fluid dynamics analyses were used to complete the fin selection milestone work."
Jim Voss, Vice President of SNC's Space Exploration added, "These were important milestones in our program, whose successful accomplishment sets the stage for completing significant work during the CCDev2 Program. NASA aerodynamicists, engineers, and managers from the Commercial Crew Program evaluated the work and participated as active participants in the review. The rapid development enabled by our partnership with NASA and the world class space companies on our team will ensure that our Nation retains its leadership in human spaceflight."
About The Dream Chaser
The Dream Chaser is a lifting body spacecraft based on former NASA design, the HL-20 crew vehicle, and carries with it a strong development heritage. It will launch on an existing launch vehicle and will have on-board propulsion utilizing SNC's proprietary hybrid rocket motor technology. The Dream Chaser, which is now under full production, is a piloted or autonomous spacecraft which provides safe, reliable, and cost effective transport of up to seven crew members or a combination of people and cargo to low earth orbit and returning them safely to the Earth without excessive deceleration or landing forces. Risk to deconditioned crew and delicate science experiment return samples is minimized through a low G landing on a runway. The combination of NASA heritage and proven technology will enable SNC's unique space transportation system to effectively and reliably carry crew and cargo to orbital destinations.
About Sierra Nevada Corporation
SNC is ranked in the top 10 among America's fastest growing private companies based on its significant growth and reputation for rapid, innovative, and agile technology solutions in electronics, aerospace, avionics, space, propulsion, micro-satellite, aircraft, communications systems and solar energy. Founded in 1963, SNC's seven unique business areas employ over 2100 people in 29 different locations in 15 states - all of whom are dedicated to providing leading-edge solutions to SNC's dynamic customer base.
SNC has earned the Top Woman-Owned Federal Contractor status in the United States based on its size and significant achievements. Over its approximately 50 years of 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. The company continues to focus its growth on the commercial sector through internal advancements and outside acquisitions, including the emerging markets of renewable energy, telemedicine, nanotechnology, cyber and net-centric operations. For more information on SNC visit www.sncorp.com.