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  CCDev: Sierra Nevada Corp. (Dream Chaser)

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Author Topic:   CCDev: Sierra Nevada Corp. (Dream Chaser)
Robert Pearlman
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Sierra Nevada Corporation release
Sierra Nevada Corporation Selected Under NASA's Human Space Transportation Program

SNC Dream Chaser Space Program to Provide Commercial Crew Capability

Sierra Nevada Corporation is pleased to announce that it has been selected to begin development of commercial crew transportation system to and from low earth orbit as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) initiative and competition. It is part of an innovative effort by NASA to foster entrepreneurial activity leading to high tech growth in engineering, analysis, design and research and to promote economic growth.

"The President has asked NASA to partner with the aerospace industry in a fundamentally new way, making commercially provided services the primary mode of astronaut transportation to the International Space Station" said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden in his official statement on the program. "We are pleased to be able to quickly move forward to advance this exciting plan for NASA."


Credit: SNC

This agreement builds on SNC's long standing relationship with NASA which has been developed as a result of two years effort under a previous unfunded Space Act Agreement for the Dream Chaser system as well as multiple other NASA major space programs. The Dream Chaser vehicle has a previous NASA heritage, expects to launch on an existing United Launch Alliance system and will have on-board propulsion utilizing SNC's space qualified hybrid motor technology. It is a piloted space solution which launches vertically and lands horizontally and will be able to carry a crew of six and critical cargo to the ISS and other LEO destinations. This combination of space heritage and proven technology will enable SNC's unique space transportation system to effectively and reliably carry crew and cargo to low earth orbit. SNC expects to work in full cooperation with NASA to ensure the highest degree of safety on all aspects of the program and on each mission.

"We are excited about NASA's selection of SNC and its support for additional development and potential utilization of SNC's unique Dream Chaser transportation system." said Mark Sirangelo, SNC's Corporate Vice President in charge of SNC's Space Systems Group. "We understand the challenge in front of us and believe that by working closely and have a continuous interchange with NASA we will be able to help accelerate the creation of new jobs and our ability to meet our country and industry's near and long term needs for space transport."

SNC Space Systems was formed through the merger of three heritage space companies and has 20 years of space flight experience having participated successfully in over 300 space missions. In addition, SNC in its other business operations has significant experience in major aerospace development programs including the modification and fielding of over 200 high performance aircraft for the U.S. Government.

About Sierra Nevada Corporation

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is known for its rapid, innovative, and agile technology solutions in electronics, aerospace, avionics, space, propulsion, micro-satellite, aircraft and communications systems for both the private and public sectors. Founded in 1963, SNC's seven unique business areas employs approximately 2000 people in 35 different locations in 20 states - all of whom are dedicated to providing leading-edge solutions to SNC's dynamic customer base.

Over its 46 year 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. SNC has grown into one of the Top Woman-Owned Federal Contractors in the United States while maintaining its reputation for innovation and agility. The company continues to focus its growth on the commercial sector through internal advancements and outside acquisitions, including the emerging markets of telemedicine, nanotechnology, energy and net-centric operations.

Robert Pearlman
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Space News: Biggest CCDev Award Goes to Sierra Nevada
Sparks, Nev.-based Sierra Nevada Corp. was the big winner in NASA’s Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) competition, receiving $20 million of the $50 million in economic stimulus money meant to seed development of commercial crew transportation services.
Aviation Week: Sierra Nevada Building On NASA Design
Sierra Nevada Corp. has $20 million in federal stimulus funds for its Dream Chaser commercial crew launch vehicle, but the company has already applied many times that amount in NASA funding for its high-stakes effort to build a private route to space for the agency’s astronauts.

The Colorado-based company is modeling Dream Chaser on the HL-20 lifting-body vehicle that NASA started as a potential International Space Station (ISS) crew rescue vehicle, which would have been able to transport a full station crew fleeing an emergency to a horizontal landing on runways anywhere in the world.

Now Sierra Nevada wants to use the HL-20s lifting-body shape to go in the other direction, riding an Atlas V rocket to orbit with an up to seven-person crew for the ISS, or with space-suited specialists trained to service other spacecraft in orbit. Because it was publicly funded, data from NASA’s HL-20 development effort is publicly available.

Robert Pearlman
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NASA Dryden Flight Research Center release
Dream Chaser Model Drops in at NASA Dryden

NASA Dryden supported helicopter air-drop flight tests of a 5-foot-long, 15% scale model of the Sierra Nevada Corporation's Dream Chaser spacecraft design under a Space Act Agreement between the two organizations.

The company's planned full-size Dream Chaser vehicle, based on the NASA HL-20 lifting body, is designed to carry up to seven people to the International Space Station and back. The vehicle is slated to launch vertically on an Atlas V rocket and land horizontally on conventional runways.

Dryden provided ground and range safety support, including a T-34 chase aircraft for photo and video imagery. The Center also provided scheduling and flight test operations engineering support, along with hangar facilities and workspace.

"Working with the SNC/CU team was a privilege. Their teamwork and dedication were phenomenal, especially through a very dynamic, tiring week of testing," said Jonathan Pickrel, NASA Dryden's flight operations engineer overseeing the testing.

The captive carry and drop flights of the 88-pound model helped validate various aspects of the Dream Chaser vehicle's configuration and performance, such as flight stability and aerodynamic data for flight control surface deflections.

"Working with NASA Dryden has always been a pleasure for me personally," said Dr. Merri Sanchez, Senior Director for Space Exploration Systems at SNC. "Sierra Nevada appreciates the excellent operational support, flexibility and flight test expertise from the NASA Dryden and Air Force teams during the conduct of our scale model test flights," Sanchez said. "We're leveraging the NASA HL-20 heritage design with our Dream Chaser vehicle that we are building to meet our Nation's need for a commercial crew transportation system, and it's great that our first subscale flight was at this NASA center."

Sierra Nevada contracted with Northwest Helicopter for the Bell 206B3 Jet Ranger helicopter that carried the Dream Chaser model on a 100-ft. cable. The helicopter dropped the model from an altitude of 14,000-feet, with landing via parachute. The model was designed, built, and operated from a collaboration between SNC and the Research and Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles at the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU).

NASA selected Sierra Nevada Corp. in Feb. 2010 to begin development of commercial crew transportation system to and from low earth orbit as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Development initiative and competition. It is part of an innovative effort by NASA to foster entrepreneurial activity leading to high tech growth in engineering, analysis, design and research and to promote economic growth.

Robert Pearlman
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NASA Deputy Administrator Visits Colorado Innovation Sites

NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver visited Boulder, Colo. today to meet with entrepreneurs and discuss innovations in space exploration and technology development critical to America's future in space.


Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Garver toured the facilities of Sierra Nevada Corporation, a company with wide involvement in developing technologies for space exploration. The company's Dream Chaser vehicle is under development with support from NASA's Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) Program to provide crew transportation to and from low Earth orbit.

"It's a pleasure to see commercial space making rapid progress in Colorado," Garver said. "As NASA becomes more nimble, companies like Sierra Nevada and others will help the U.S. out-innovate, out-educate and out-build any competitor in the world."

As NASA focuses on a renewed program of technology development to reach destinations farther in the solar system, it will continue a vigorous program of human spaceflight aboard the International Space Station and foster a growing commercial space industry with the capability to produce jobs and economic benefits.


Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

"We are extremely pleased to be working with NASA in the development of our Dream Chaser Orbital Space Vehicle," said Mark N. Sirangelo, head of Sierra Nevada's Space Systems Group. "The extensive knowledge, terrific support and expertise NASA is providing have enabled us to advance our program significantly. We are now ahead of schedule and in production of our first flight vehicle because of NASA and the CCDev program."

The NASA Authorization Act of 2010, passed with strong bipartisan support, calls on NASA to pursue commercial access to space and extend the life of the space station to at least 2020. Along with these goals, the act directs the agency to open multiple pathways to innovate and develop new capabilities for the exploration missions of the future.

Robert Pearlman
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Sierra Nevada Corporation release
Sierra Nevada Corporation Announces Major Award under NASA's Commercial Crew Development Program

Sierra Nevada Corporation's (SNC) Space Systems Group announces that it has won an award under the NASA Commercial Crew Development Program (CCDev2) to advance the development of SNC's Dream Chaser Orbital Space Transportation System. The 14 month contract is valued at $80 million and will begin in April 2011. The goal of CCDev2 program is to accelerate the availability of U.S. commercial crew transportation capabilities and reduce the gap in American human spaceflight capability. Once developed, crew transportation capabilities could become available to NASA as well as commercial and government customers.

Mark N. Sirangelo, head of SNC Space Systems Group commented, "SNC, as the owner and prime contractor for the Dream Chaser program, is very pleased to have won one of the largest awards from NASA. This award will allow us to continue to develop the Dream Chaser Orbital Space System and will allow us to become one of the companies positioned to provide commercial orbital transportation. We want to thank NASA for showing the confidence in us and for all its efforts to maintain the vital Commercial Crew Development program as part of its plan for the future of Space. There are so many people who have engaged with our program over the last 6 years that it will be impossible to recognize all of them. We have received great backing from everyone within our organization, from all our terrific external CCDev teaming partner companies, from the NASA personnel assigned to our efforts and throughout the NASA centers and from our federal, state and local government representatives."

SNC has been developing the Dream Chaser for 6 years, most recently through a partnership with NASA under the Commercial Crew Development One (CCDev1) program. During the CCDev1 program SNC successfully completed all milestones on schedule and under budget. During this program in 2010, SNC integrated the efforts of this powerful team of aerospace companies to significantly advance the development of the Dream Chaser. The team completed hybrid rocket motor test firings, primary structure fabrication and testing, significant aerodynamic analysis and guidance, navigation and control development. These activities significantly reduced risk associated with the development of a human spacecraft.

SNC will continue to work in full cooperation with NASA to ensure the highest degree of safety on all aspects of the program and on each mission. Jim Voss, Vice President of SNC Space Exploration Systems, said "We have assembled a great team of human-spaceflight experienced personnel and companies that are enabling rapid, cost effective development of the Dream Chaser System. Our Nation needs the capability to transport astronaut crews to the International Space Station and the SNC Team intends to provide that capability through partnership with NASA. The strength of our team and our ability to work well together is leading the development of the Dream Chaser to fulfill that need, as well as transport humans to orbit for other commercial purposes such as scientific research and tourism."

About The Dream Chaser

The Dream Chaser is a piloted lifting body spacecraft based on NASA's HL-20 crew vehicle, with a strong development heritage. It will launch on an existing United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle, and will have on-board propulsion utilizing SNC's proprietary hybrid rocket motor technology. It is a piloted spacecraft which will carry a crew of seven and critical cargo to the International Space Station as well as other low Earth orbit destinations, and return crew and fragile experiments to a gentle runway landing. 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.

Robert Pearlman
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Sierra Nevada Corporation release
Sierra Nevada Space Systems Completes Two Major Milestones for NASA Commercial Crew Program

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."

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NASA release
NASA Signs Commercial Space Agreement With Sierra Nevada

NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida is entering into an agreement with Sierra Nevada Space Systems (SNSS) of Sparks, Nev., to offer technical capabilities from the center's uniquely skilled work force.

The umbrella space act agreement is Kennedy's latest step in its transition from a historically government-only launch complex to a multi-user spaceport. Sierra Nevada also has space act agreements with NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston; NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.; NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards, Calif.; and NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.

"We're pleased that our partner Sierra Nevada is going to make use of the deep resources existing at the Kennedy Space Center to enhance its ongoing work," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "Sierra Nevada's agreements with Kennedy and other NASA centers demonstrate its commitment to using the full resources of NASA as the agency facilitates commercial cargo and crew capabilities to the International Space Station."

Kennedy will help Sierra Nevada with the ground operations support of its lifting body reusable spacecraft called "Dream Chaser," which resembles a smaller version of the space shuttle orbiter. The spacecraft would carry as many as seven astronauts to the space station.

Through the new agreement, Kennedy's work force will use its experience of processing the shuttle fleet for 30 years to help Sierra Nevada define and execute Dream Chaser's launch preparations and post-landing activities.

"The partnership is an effort to bring new commercial space activities to the center and help transition Kennedy from a government, program-focused, single user launch complex to a diverse, multi-use spaceport, enabling both government and commercial space providers," said Kennedy Center Director Bob Cabana.

In 2010 and 2011, Sierra Nevada was awarded grants as part of the initiative to stimulate the private sector in developing and demonstrating human spaceflight capabilities for NASA's Commercial Crew Program. The goal of the program, which is based at Kennedy, is to facilitate the development of a U.S. commercial crew space transportation capability by achieving safe, reliable and cost-effective access to and from the space station and future low Earth orbit destinations.

"Our Dream Chaser vehicle was born at NASA, and NASA has continued to be an important partner in the vehicle's development," said Mark Sirangelo, head of SNSS. "By adding the Kennedy Space Center, with its highly experienced technical staff and world-class facilities, to the Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser Program we blend the best of both the NASA shuttle heritage alongside the best of industry practices."

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NASA release
NASA's Commercial Crew Partner Sierra Nevada Delivers Flight Test Vehicle Structure

One of NASA's industry partners, Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC), recently delivered the primary structure of its first Dream Chaser flight test vehicle to the company's facility in Louisville, Colo., where it will be assembled and integrated with secondary systems. This is one of 12 milestones to be completed under SNC's funded Space Act Agreement (SAA) with NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP).

"It's rewarding to see our partner's ideas and concepts come to fruition," said CCP Program Manager Ed Mango. "The company's delivery of its flight structure will allow them to make more strides toward launching NASA astronauts on American vehicles to the International Space Station."

The Dream Chaser flight test vehicle, a full-scale prototype of the company's planned winged spacecraft, will be used to carry out several remaining NASA Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) milestones, including a captive carry flight and the first free flight of the craft.

"SNC is proud to have met its schedule and cost targets in the delivery of our first flight structure as we continue to make preparations for our vehicle's first full-scale flight," said Mark Sirangelo, head of Sierra Nevada Space Systems. "The Dream Chaser Program is making great strides toward developing a safe and cost-effective space system that will provide our country with the capability to safely transport crew and critical cargo to and from the International Space Station."

The all-composite structure was designed by the SNC team and built in conjunction with SNC Dream Chaser team organizations AdamWorks of Centennial, Colo., Applied Composite Technology of Gunnison, Utah, and Scaled Composites of Mojave, Calif.

"Our team now includes more than a dozen heritage space companies and seven NASA centers whose combined strength has continued to allow us to exceed the program's expectations," said Jim Voss, SNC's vice president for Space Exploration. Voss is a former space shuttle astronaut and was a member of the second crew to live aboard the International Space Station.

Dream Chaser's CCDev2 flight tests will be conducted with the assistance of NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif., under a Reimbursable Space Act Agreement (RSAA). During the captive carry test, a Virgin Galactic While Knight 2 carrier aircraft will drop the Dream Chaser flight test vehicle to measure its performance. SNC flight operations will be managed by the program's Director of Flight Operations Steve Lindsey, who joined the Dream Chaser team in 2011. Lindsey is a veteran of five shuttle missions and was chief of NASA's Astronaut Office from 2008 until his retirement from the agency in 2011.

All of NASA's industry partners continue to meet their established milestones in developing commercial crew transportation capabilities that will ferry U.S. astronauts to and from the International Space Station, reducing the amount of time America is without its own system.

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Dream Chaser Captive Carry Flight-Test

First flight of Sierra Nevada Corporation's Dream Chaser spacecraft during captive carry test on May 29, 2012 at Rocky Mountain Metro Airport in Denver, Colo.

Robert Pearlman
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Sierra Nevada Corporation release
Sierra Nevada Corporation Announces the successful Completion of Four Dream Chaser Milestones for NASA

Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Space Systems announces that the Dream Chaser Space System has successfully completed four additional NASA Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) Program Milestones.

The four Milestones included: Separation System Testing, Flight Article Main Landing Gear Drop Testing, Captive Carry Interface Testing, and a Captive Carry Flight Test Readiness Review.

Dream Chaser's Separation System Testing served to evaluate the Dream Chaser-to-Atlas V launch vehicle separation system. Such a system will be used to release the Dream Chaser from the Atlas V second stage after the launch vehicle has placed it into low Earth orbit.

The Flight Article Main Landing Gear Drop Testing successfully evaluated the performance of the landing gear selected for use on the Engineering Test Article for Approach and Landing Tests (ALT), scheduled for later this year. The Captive Carry Interface Test successfully tested the release mechanism that will be used during ALT, as well as for Captive Carry.

During the Captive Carry Flight Test Readiness Review, completed on May 24th, SNC management approved proceeding with the first full scale flight test of the Dream Chaser Flight Vehicle. During this risk reduction test, the Dream Chaser will fly under an Erickson Sky Crane helicopter to verify proper aerodynamic flight performance that will inform future free flight testing. The flight will occur near the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Jefferson County, Colo.

“The Dream Chaser Team has made significant progress in hardware development during the Commercial Crew Program. The success of these milestones shows the rapid progress that a commercial company like SNC can make in partnership with NASA“, said Senior Director Merri Sanchez. Sanchez joined SNC after 28 years at NASA, her extensive experience within the agency includes serving as the X-38 Deputy Project Manager.

"NASA's Commercial Crew Program has created an opportunity for SNC to create an orbital crew transportation system that will safely and reliably transport astronauts to the International Space Station for a significant cost savings over traditional systems," said Mark Sirangelo, Corporate Vice President and head of SNC's Space Systems.

Robert Pearlman
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Sierra Nevada Corporation release
Nose gear tested for Dream Chaser spacecraft

NASA partner Sierra Nevada Corp. has completed a successful test of the nose landing gear for its full-scale Dream Chaser engineering flight test vehicle. The completed test and an upcoming flight test are part of SNC's Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) agreement with NASA's Commercial Crew Program.

The gear test is an important milestone to prepare for the upcoming approach and landing test of the Dream Chaser Space System later this year. It evaluated the impact the nose landing gear will experience on touchdown in order to ensure a safe runway landing.

SNC is one of seven companies developing commercial crew transportation capabilities to ferry U.S. astronauts to and from low Earth orbit and the International Space Station. The Dream Chaser is the only spacecraft under CCDev2 that is winged and designed to land on a conventional runway. It is designed to carry as many as seven astronauts to space.

"The landing gear system must perform flawlessly, just like the space shuttle orbiter's did, for the safe return of the crew," CCP program manager Ed Mango said. "It's great to see that SNC is building on that experience while developing the Dream Chaser spacecraft."

SNC tested the spacecraft's main landing gear in February. This nose landing gear test completes the milestones leading up to the upcoming approach and landing test, which will complete the CCDev2 partnership.

"This test marks a significant point in the development of the Dream Chaser orbital crew vehicle. As the last milestone before free flight of the Dream Chaser spacecraft, we are now preparing for the approach and landing tests to be flown later this year," said Jim Voss, SNC vice president of space exploration systems and program manager for the Dream Chaser.

Robert Pearlman
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Sierra Nevada Corporation release
Sierra Nevada Corporation's Dream Chaser space system awarded major NASA orbital transportation development contract

Eren Ozmen, President of Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), is pleased to announce that the company's Dream Chaser Space System has been awarded $212.5 million as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) Program. The 21 month contract will begin in August of 2012.

Mark Sirangelo, Corporate Vice President and head of SNC's Space Systems stated, "SNC, as the owner and prime contractor for the Dream Chaser Space System, on behalf of all of our industry, academic, and NASA Center teaming partners would like to thank NASA for showing the confidence in us and for all its efforts to maintain the vital Commercial Crew Program as part of its plan for the future of space transportation. We are very pleased to have been awarded this amount of funding as part of NASA's ongoing effort to create a commercial human transportation system to low Earth orbit. This award will allow our Program to continue to make great strides in the development of the Dream Chaser Space System. We want to express our appreciation to all of those that have provided great support in our efforts, including everyone within our organization and our terrific external team partners, the NASA personnel assigned to our efforts and throughout the NASA Centers and our federal, state, and local government representatives."

SNC has integrated the efforts of its powerful team of leading aerospace companies, academic institutions, and NASA Centers to significantly advance the development of the Dream Chaser orbital crew vehicle and the associated mission, ground, and crew systems, as well as launch vehicle integration. To date, the SNC team has completed 19 milestones; including a full system Preliminary Design Review and first captive carry flight, in addition to a significant number of additional tasks. The remaining milestone under the second round of NASA funding will be an Approach and Landing Test scheduled for later this year, mirroring the first flight test of the Space Shuttle Program. The full CCiCap Program will allow SNC to complete development of the Dream Chaser Space System and transport crews to space as early as 2016.

"We are pleased to be selected to continue development of the Dream Chaser Space System and proud that NASA is showing confidence in the SNC team's ability to develop our nation's next human spacecraft. Our team will continue to work with NASA to ensure that the Dream Chaser is a reliable and safe spacecraft to carry NASA astronauts to the International Space Station," said Jim Voss, Vice President of SNC's Space Exploration Systems and Dream Chaser Program Manager. "I believe we were chosen to continue the Dream Chaser Program because we have a great design, a great team, and have demonstrated, in cooperation with our NASA Partner, that we can develop a human spacecraft in a rapid and cost effective manner."

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Sierra Nevada Corporation release
Sierra Nevada Corporation and Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company Partner On Dream Chaser Programs

Sierra Nevada Corporation's (SNC) Space Systems is pleased to announce Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company of Littleton, Colo., is joining the SNC Dream Chaser team. Lockheed Martin will be an exclusive partner to SNC on NASA's Certification Products Contract (CPC) and has been competitively selected to build the composite structure for the Dream Chaser at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, La. SNC was awarded $10 million for CPC Phase 1 to work with NASA towards government certification of the SNC Dream Chaser orbital crew transportation system.

"The SNC team is thrilled that Lockheed Martin will be joining our expanding world-class team of partner organizations also working to certify the Dream Chaser Space System for crewed flights to the International Space Station for NASA," said Mark Sirangelo, corporate vice president and head of SNC's Space Systems. "The CPC contract offers the Dream Chaser team the opportunity for a more robust technical interchange with NASA as we work to develop a safe, reliable orbital crew transportation system. This contract capitalizes on SNC's success working with NASA's Commercial Crew Program, as well as Lockheed Martin's expertise in developing and certifying Orion's beyond low Earth orbit human spaceflight hardware as part of NASA's Exploration Program. Our team will work towards the common goal of certifying the Dream Chaser to provide the next generation human transportation system."

Lockheed Martin is developing NASA's Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) and brings extensive and current experience in obtaining NASA certification for a crewed flight vehicle to the Dream Chaser program.

"We are pleased to join the SNC Dream Chaser team. Lockheed Martin brings with it tremendous human-rated space flight knowledge from our significant experience with large, human-flight structures, including 135 flights with the Space Shuttle's external fuel tanks. We feel we can share many synergies between the Orion exploration spacecraft and the Dream Chaser lifting body space vehicle. This provides a great opportunity to take NASA's investments in crew exploration capabilities and leverage them toward commercial transportation to low Earth orbit," said Jim Crocker, vice president and general manager, Civil Space, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company.

The composite structure for the Dream Chaser flight test vehicle is being built under the SNC $212.5 million Space Act Agreement for the NASA Commercial Crew Integrated Capability Program. This effort leverages the extensive Lockheed Martin experience in building composite structures for spacecraft and high performance aircraft. With the addition of Lockheed Martin as a partner on the Dream Chaser program, SNC is now working with partner organizations in over 15 states on NASA's Commercial Crew Integrated Capability program.

"We are pleased to include Lockheed Martin as part of the Dream Chaser Team to develop early certification products and to build critical flight hardware. Their recent human spacecraft certification experience and composite expertise make them a great addition to our program," said Jim Voss, vice president of Space Exploration Systems and Dream Chaser program manager.

The SNC and Lockheed Martin partnership represents the best of entrepreneurial spirit and established space mission success, collaborating on vehicle development, certification and reaching additional customer markets for the Dream Chaser orbital vehicle. The team looks forward to working with NASA to successfully execute on the first round of the CPC contract and move towards offering the Dream Chaser Space System as a commercial solution to crew and cargo servicing of the International Space Station.

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NASA release
Sierra Nevada Corporation Dream Chaser Testing Begins at NASA Dryden, Langley

Sierra Nevada Corporation's (SNC) Space Systems Dream Chaser flight vehicle arrived at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif., Wednesday to begin tests of its flight and runway landing systems.

The tests are part of pre-negotiated, paid-for-performance milestones with NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP), which is facilitating U.S.-led companies' development of spacecraft and rockets that can launch from American soil. The overall goal of CCP is to achieve safe, reliable and cost-effective U.S. human access to and from the International Space Station and low-Earth orbit.

Above: The flatbed truck and trailer that transported Sierra Nevada Corporation, or SNC, Space Systems' Dream Chaser engineering test article pauses behind Hangar 4802 on the aircraft ramp at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center on Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., upon arrival at the center. (Credit: NASA/Tom Tschida)

Tests at Dryden will include tow, captive-carry and free-flight tests of the Dream Chaser. A truck will tow the craft down a runway to validate performance of the nose strut, brakes and tires. The captive-carry flights will further examine the loads it will encounter during flight as it is carried by an Erickson Skycrane helicopter. The free flight later this year will test Dream Chaser's aerodynamics through landing.

Meanwhile, on the east coast, several NASA astronauts will be at the agency's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., this week to fly simulations of a Dream Chaser approach and landing to help evaluate the spacecraft's subsonic handling. The test will measure how well the spacecraft would handle in a number of different atmospheric conditions and assess its guidance and navigation performance.

"Unique public-private partnerships like the one between NASA and Sierra Nevada Corporation are creating an industry capable of building the next generation of rockets and spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the scientific proving ground of low-Earth orbit," said William Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate administrator for human exploration and operations in Washington. "NASA centers around the country paved the way for 50 years of American human spaceflight, and they're actively working with our partners to test innovative commercial space systems that will continue to ensure American leadership in exploration and discovery."

Above: Bruce Jackson, an aerospace engineer at NASA’s Langley Flight Research Center, briefs astronauts Rex Walheim and Gregory Johnson as they evaluate Sierra Nevada Corporation's Dream Chaser landing simulation, in support of NASA Commercial Crew Program efforts, Wednesday, May 15. (Credit: NASA/David C. Bowman)

The Dream Chaser Space System is based on Langley's Horizontal Lander HL-20 lifting body design concept. The design builds on years of analysis and wind tunnel testing by Langley engineers during the 1980s and 1990s. Langley and SNC joined forces six years ago to update the HL-20 design in the Dream Chaser orbital crew vehicle. In those years SNC has worked with the center to refine the spacecraft design. SNC will continue to test models in Langley wind tunnels. Langley researchers also helped develop a cockpit simulator at SNC's facility in Louisville, Colo., and the flight simulations being assessed at the center.

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NASA Dryden Flight Research Center release
SNC Dream Chaser unveiled to media at Dryden event

NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden visited the space agency's Dryden Flight Research Center on May 22, taking the opportunity to see the Sierra Nevada Corporation's (SNC) Dream Chaser test vehicle that had arrived at the center a week earlier.

Bolden, SNC's Director of Flight Operations and former NASA astronaut Steve Lindsey and Patrick Stoliker, deputy director of NASA Dryden, outlined the coming ground and flight tests for the Dream Chaser to news media representatives gathered in a hangar at the NASA field center.

Above: Steve Lindsey, Sierra Nevada Corporation, or SNC, director of flight operations and former space shuttle astronaut, talks to the media about the development work Sierra Nevada Corporation, or SNC, will perform in collaboration with NASA's Commercial Crew Program, or CCP, with its Dream Chaser flight test vehicle at the agency's Dryden Flight Research Center in the coming months. At left is NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden. At right is Dryden Flight Research Deputy Center Director Patrick Stoliker. (Credit: NASA/Tom Tschida)

SNC is preparing the vehicle for tow, captive-carry and free-flight tests later this year. The testing is part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) initiatives to develop safe, reliable and cost-effective access to and from the International Space Station and low-Earth orbit. It is one of three spacecraft being developed for that role under the CCP program, the others being Boeing's CST-100 capsule and a crewed version of Space Exploration Technologies' (SpaceX) Dragon capsule. The Dream Chaser is the only one designed to make a soft airplane-style landing on a runway, similar to landings of the now-retired space shuttles.

The Dream Chaser Space System is based on NASA's "Horizontal Lander" HL-20 lifting body design concept. The upcoming flight tests will provide data on the spacecraft's aerodynamic performance during subsonic approach and landing on a traditional runway. The tests are part of pre-negotiated, paid-for-performance milestones with CCP, which is facilitating commercial, U.S.-led development of spacecraft and rockets that can launch from American soil.

Above: Plastic wrapping that protected the Sierra Nevada Corporation, or SNC, Dream Chaser flight test vehicle during its transport from Colorado is carefully removed by SNC employee Will Armijo following the craft's arrival at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in southern California. (Credit: NASA/Tom Tschida)

While at Dryden, Bolden also met with SNC's ground and flight-test staff, flew approach-and-landing simulations for the Dream Chaser, addressed an employee town hall and was briefed by center management on current programs, projects and operations at the center.

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Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) release
Sierra Nevada Corporation Begins Dream Chaser Main Hybrid Rocket Motor Testing

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announces the successful start of the latest phase of hybrid rocket motor qualification testing for the Dream Chaser flight vehicle. SNC completed two tests this week at its rocket test facility in San Diego, Calif. A motor firing and ignition test was completed in preparation for upcoming motor tests under the current Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) award. SNC will conduct another series of hybrid motor firings to meet the next CCiCap contracted milestone beginning this summer.

After required modifications were completed, the test firing was conducted in order to validate Dream Chaser's motor test stand. This was after required modifications were completed and to ensure that SNC can move forward with the future heavy weight motor test series with minimal test stand risk. The Dream Chaser version of the hybrid rocket motor was last tested in 2010 under the Commercial Crew Development Program (CCDev1) Space Act Agreement during which SNC completed three successful test firings of a single hybrid motor in one day.

In addition to manufacturing these motors for Dream Chaser, SNC also manufactures the hybrid motors for Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo vehicle which has undergone test firings on dozens of hybrid motors over the last two years. As announced in the SNC news release (April 29, 2013), SpaceShipTwo successfully completed its first powered flight test using SNC's hybrid motor to power the vehicle to an altitude of 55,000 feet and reaching Mach 1.2.

"We are eager to begin the next series of motor testing for Dream Chaser," said Mark Sirangelo corporate vice president and head of SNC's Space Systems. "With the successful qualification this week in San Diego and the success of the powered flight of SpaceShipTwo, we are even more confident that our hybrid motor technology is the safest and most reliable system for human transportation."

SNC's hybrid rocket systems offer a safe, high performing, and non-toxic alternative to solid and hydrazine liquid propulsion systems. As the rocket motor fuel is industrial rubber, there are no special handling or transportation requirements, which greatly reduces the lifecycle cost to customers.

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NASA Kennedy Space Center photo and video release
SNC's Dream Chaser Prepared For Testing

This time-lapse video shows Sierra Nevada Corporation's (SNC) team attaching the wings and tail of the company's Dream Chaser flight vehicle May 18.

The crew prepared the vehicle for ground and free-flight tests, which are scheduled throughout 2013.

SNC is one of only three companies working with NASA to develop space transportation systems capable of flying astronauts to and from low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station later this decade.

The work completed at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center will demonstrate the winged vehicle's ability to safely land an astronaut crew on a runway.

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NASA release
SNC's Dream Chaser Rolls through Ground Tests

Hours before the heat rose in the Mojave Desert of Southern California on Aug. 2 the Dream Chaser rolled out of a hangar at dawn as teams prepared to pull the flight vehicle through a series of 60 mph ground tow tests.

These tests were the fourth of incremental range and taxi tow tests that Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) performed to prove the spacecraft's braking and landing systems could handle upcoming captive-carry and approach-and-landing tests at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center.

The tests were performed in preparation for pre-negotiated, paid-for-performance flight milestones with NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP), which is facilitating the development of American-made spacecraft and rocket combinations that can launch from U.S. soil.

"The dedicated Dream Chaser team has been putting the test spacecraft through comprehensive integrated testing on the runway, ramps and hangar of the historic California site, finding issues on the ground and addressing them in preparation for upcoming free flights," said Cheryl McPhillips, NASA Partner Manager working with SNC during the agency's Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) initiative.

SNC engineers performed sequential low- and high-speed ground tow tests throughout the course of two months. A pickup truck pulled the flight vehicle across Dryden's concrete runways at 10, 20, 40 and 60 mph to verify the integrity of spacecraft's performance under landing and rollout conditions. Through a reimbursable Space Act Agreement with the center, the company is utilizing Dryden's unique testing facilities and experienced flight-test personnel to prove the system is safe.

"We are happy to contribute our flight research and testing expertise to this project," said NASA Dryden center director David McBride. "Dryden has a rich history of testing advances in aerospace technology from the early lifting body aircraft, through the shuttle program and now the next generation of manned spacecraft."

The Dream Chaser flight vehicle verifications included flight computer and flight software, instrumentation, guidance, navigation and control, braking and steering performance, flight control surface actuation, mission control and remote commanding capability, and landing gear dynamics.

"We are very excited to complete this series of tests and achieve another critical milestone for our Dream Chaser flight test program," said Steve Lindsey, senior director of programs for SNC's Space Systems and former NASA astronaut. "Watching Dream Chaser undergo tow testing on the same runway where we landed several space shuttle orbiters brings a great amount of pride to our Dream Chaser team."

SNC is one of three companies funded under CCiCap to develop a next-generation integrated crew transportation system. The flight testing at Dryden is part of the company's ongoing development work in support of its CCiCap and Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) agreement with the agency.

"I look forward to seeing this bird land on the old shuttle runway this fall," said McPhillips. "SNC and our other partners are working diligently to enable this country to safely fly crew from and back to the U.S."

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NASA release
NASA Partner Completes Second Dream Chaser Captive-Carry Test

NASA partner Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) of Louisville, Colo., successfully completed a captive-carry test of the Dream Chaser spacecraft Thursday, Aug. 22, at the space agency's Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif.

During the two-hour test, an Erickson Air-Crane helicopter picked up a test version of the Dream Chaser flight vehicle and flew it a distance of three miles over a dry lake bed at Edwards Air Force Base at a maximum altitude of approximately 12,400 feet. The spacecraft followed the projected path it will fly during future approach and landing tests at Dryden. Dream Chaser's flight computer, along with its guidance, navigation and control systems were tested. The landing gear and nose skid also were deployed during flight.

"Today is the first time we have flown a fully functional Dream Chaser flight vehicle, and we are very pleased with the results," said Mark Sirangelo, corporate vice president and head of SNC's Space Systems. "Our team represents the very best in collaboration between industry and government. We have worked closely with NASA, Dryden and the Air Force to reach this important milestone in our flight test program. We look forward to seeing Dream Chaser land on the same runway as the space shuttle orbiters once did as we move forward in the development of the next-generation crew transportation vehicle."

This was the second captive-carry test of the Dream Chaser flight vehicle and its first captive-carry at Dryden. Data obtained from the test will provide SNC valuable information about the Dream Chaser hardware and ground operations. The test paves the way for upcoming free-flight tests at Dryden this fall as part of the company's agreements with NASA.

SNC is working with NASA to develop Dream Chaser, planned to launch atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, through the agency's Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) and Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) initiatives. New commercial spaceflight capabilities being developed by NASA partners through these initiatives eventually could provide launch services to transport NASA astronauts to the International Space Station from U.S. soil.

"It's great to see real American-made hardware taking flight right here in the U.S.," said Ed Mango, NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) manager. "This is just the start of an exciting flight test campaign for SNC's Dream Chaser at Dryden."

Work leading up to the captive-carry test included an evaluation of the performance of Dream Chaser's braking and landing systems, during ground tow tests, at increasing speeds. SNC engineers also verified the spacecraft's computer and software systems, instrumentation and steering performance. The company held a thorough flight test readiness review with engineers, technical experts and representatives from NASA and the U.S. Air Force.

SNC's CCDev2 Space Act Agreement with NASA is set to culminate with an upcoming approach-and-landing free-flight test at Dryden. SNC also is on track to complete all 12 of its CCiCap milestones by the summer of 2014. All of NASA's industry partners, including SNC, continue to meet their established milestones in developing commercial crew transportation capabilities.

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Sierra Nevada Corp. release
Sierra Nevada Corporation Completes CCDev2 Contract with NASA

Company begins Dream Chaser Flight Test Program

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) today (Dec. 16) announced that the company has successfully completed all milestones under NASA's Commercial Crew Development 2 (CCDev2) phase. Milestones achieved include a systems requirement review, flight simulator development, creation of a vehicle avionics integration laboratory, system definition review, flight control integration laboratory, preliminary design review and the first free-flight test of the Dream Chaser spacecraft.

The final milestone, free-flight test Milestone 13, was executed Oct. 26, 2013 at Edwards Air Force Base in Edwards, Calif., in conjunction with NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center. The objective of the milestone was to lift the Dream Chaser spacecraft via a carrier vehicle to its designated release conditions then release the spacecraft for an unpiloted free-flight test in order to collect trajectory data during flight.

All expected trajectory and flight data, including the nominal glide slope and other aerodynamic data, were successfully demonstrated and collected in-flight. The Dream Chaser spacecraft's performance during flight exceeded predictions and requirements. After extensive post-flight analysis by NASA, SNC received the full award value for the milestone. The free-flight test of the flexible, lifting-body vehicle marked the culmination of years of design and scale model testing completed by SNC and NASA's Langley Research Center on both the SNC Dream Chaser vehicle and the heritage NASA vehicle, the HL-20.

"SNC is pleased to begin flight testing and to have successfully completed the CCDev2 agreement with passage of this most recent milestone," said Mark Sirangelo, corporate vice president and head of SNC's Space Systems. "Having the Dream Chaser flight exceed our expectations on its first autonomous flight was an extraordinary accomplishment for SNC, its team of industry, government and university partners, and all those who worked on the NASA heritage HL-20 vehicle that Dream Chaser is based on.

With CCDev2 now complete, SNC is committed to meeting all contracted milestones under its on-going agreement with NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) during the Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) initiative.

"We thank NASA for the tremendous support we have received over the life of the CCDev2 agreement and look forward to continuing our strong working relationship in building the next-generation crew transportation vehicle," Sirangelo said. "Our goal is to restore America's leadership in human spaceflight and completing CCDev2 was a critical step along that path."

SNC is working with CCP as the company develops a next-generation crew transportation vehicle. Dream Chaser is the only reusable, lifting-body human spacecraft with a commercial runway landing capability, anywhere in the world. The Dream Chaser spacecraft is on the forefront of the commercial human spaceflight industry, offering safe, reliable and cost-effective crew and critical cargo transportation to low-Earth orbit.

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Sierra Nevada Corp. release
Sierra Nevada Corporation Announces International Expansion of the Dream Chaser Space System

In a press conference today (Jan. 8), Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announced the global expansion of the Dream Chaser Space System through recently finalized cooperative understandings with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

SNC will work with each agency on the potential application of European technologies to both the current Dream Chaser design, and advanced derivative versions of the vehicle. This international collaboration will also help define missions outside the Dream Chaser's primary mission of ferrying U.S. and partner nation astronauts to low-Earth orbit, thereby helping to maintain the global space partnerships established between these agencies and the United States space program.

Through these understandings, ESA and DLR will join the expanding SNC team and add European expertise to further advance the development of the Dream Chaser Space System. At the same time having access to Dream Chaser flights will enable European countries to advance their space technologies, flight opportunities and space interests in low-Earth orbit.

"Today marks a special day for SNC," said Mark Sirangelo, corporate vice president and head of SNC's Space Systems. "With the start of these new relationships with ESA and DLR we are able to continue to expand the Dream Chaser Space System globally. The combined strengths of our partner space agencies, industrial companies and education institutions will significantly advance space education, exploration and, for various missions such as microgravity science, spacecraft servicing, debris removal, and materials manufacturing, provide economic benefits to all partners and strengthen U.S. and international ties."

SNC's Dream Chaser Space System is at the forefront of the commercial human spaceflight industry offering safe, reliable and cost-effective crew and critical cargo transportation services to low-Earth orbit. As the only lifting-body, low-g reentry spacecraft with the capability to land on commercial runways, anywhere in the world, Dream Chaser is uniquely adaptable to meet a variety of mission requirements, making it the only multi-mission space utility vehicle in the world.

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Sierra Nevada Corp. release
Sierra Nevada Corporation Completes Dream Chaser Space System Certification Plan Review

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) today announced the company recently completed its Certification Plan Review for the entire Dream Chaser Space System (DCSS). This major accomplishment represents Milestone 7 under its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) agreement, the third phase of development under NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) to develop privately owned and operated crew vehicles to access low-Earth orbit. In passing Milestone 7, the DCSS has successfully completed one of the most critical milestones on the road to Dream Chaser full design certification and outlined how SNC would operate its first crewed flight to the International Space Station (ISS).

In this milestone, SNC and NASA reviewed the overall certification strategy, and verification and validation activities for the DCSS. The DCSS systems certification review included the Dream Chaser spacecraft, the Atlas V launch vehicle, and ground and mission systems, all of which must work together before the spacecraft can transport humans. SNC delivered nearly 6,000 pages of technical support documentation and successfully met the exit criteria in its agreement for Milestone 7. The passage of this milestone confirmed SNC's integrated certification strategy, process and plans are now complete, further documenting that the DCSS design is maturing toward compliance with the functional, performance and interface requirements to operate in its intended environments.

"The completion and validation by NASA of Milestone 7 is a major step in leading us to our first crewed, orbital flight of the Dream Chaser Space System," said Mark Sirangelo, corporate vice president and head of SNC's Space Systems. "We have now completed 70 percent of our CCiCap contract. With each day, each test, and each successful milestone passing, we are moving one step closer to restoring America's place as a leader in human spaceflight building the nation's next generation crew transportation system."

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Sierra Nevada Corp. release
SNC Announces First Orbital Flight of Dream Chaser Company Outlines Plans for its Flight Operations

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announces that it has confirmed that the first orbital flight of its Dream Chaser Space System will occur on November 1, 2016. Dream Chaser will be brought to orbit on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket that is being built in Decatur, Alabama and will launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

During SNC's press event at the John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC), which was carried live on NASA TV, Mark N. Sirangelo, corporate vice president and head of Sierra Nevada Space Systems also unveiled the plans for Dream Chaser flight operations and vehicle processing in Florida through a detailed multi-part presentation.

Sirangelo started the announcement by saying, "SNC is thrilled to be the first company to confirm a launch date for our country's return to orbital human spaceflight and the restart of human spaceflight operations from Florida's Space Coast. We could not have done this without the spirit and engagement from our national and state governments, the best aerospace companies in the industry, and several major universities, which all hail from over 30 states. Together these passionate people will return our astronauts to space on American spacecraft and rockets launched from America's space coast right here in Florida."

"This is a great example of commercial companies working together to further America's leadership in space," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "Not only are NASA and the state of Florida forging new partnerships with the U.S. aerospace industry, we have created an environment where these companies can create partnerships with each other."

"We have been diligent in our efforts, and I consider this a strong vote of confidence from a company that expects to be a major force in the future of human spaceflight," said Bob Cabana, Kennedy center director. "Sierra Nevada Corporation will find in our workforce and facilities the same dynamic and professional people that have made successful missions from here for more than 50 years." Cabana said SNC's involvement with the Florida spaceport shows the conversion to a 21st Century spaceport is succeeding, although work remains to keep the transformation on pace. Also joining in the press conference were:

  • Michael Gass, United Launch Alliance president and CEO
    vFrank DiBello, Space Florida president and CEO
  • Larry Price, Lockheed Martin Space Systems deputy program manager, NASA's Orion spacecraft
  • Steve Lindsey, Sierra Nevada Corporation senior director and Dream Chaser program manager
"We are honored that Sierra Nevada Corporation has reserved a proven Atlas V to launch its first flight test in 2016," said Michael Gass, United Launch Alliance president and CEO. "With 42 successful missions spanning a decade of operational service, the commercially-developed Atlas V is uniquely qualified to provide launch services for the Crew Transportation System. Because Atlas is already certified by NASA to fly the nation's most complex exploration missions, ULA is able to provide a wealth of flight data, design implementation, detailed system and sub-system analysis, qualification and certification documentation to support NASA certification of the Atlas V for human space flight."

In addition to confirming the launch, SNC also highlighted its plans to employ the Operations and Checkout (O&C) facility at NASA's KSC. The O&C facility will be used for both preparation of the reusable Dream Chaser spacecraft for its flights and post-mission testing for its next flight. The O&C is an historic facility for America's space program, which was originally built to process Gemini and Apollo era spacecraft. After significant upgrades by NASA and the State of Florida, it is currently being used by Lockheed Martin Space Systems to develop, assemble and test NASA's Orion spacecraft. James H. Crocker, Vice President and General Manager, Civil Space, Lockheed Martin Space Systems commented about the joint efforts, "The O&C is a state-of-the-art facility that will greatly enhance Dream Chaser's future operations through an innovative co-use plan with Orion. The result will maximize efficiency for both Dream Chaser and Orion and will provide continuity for our highly trained, motivated and certified workforce."

The third part of SNC's announcement underscored Dream Chaser's intended use of NASA's Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF). The SLF is an airport/spaceport located on Merritt Island in Brevard County, Fla. The SLF is part of KSC and was used by NASA's Space Shuttle for landing until the program's end in 2011. The facility is also used for takeoffs and landings for NASA training jets and civilian aircraft, such as the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. Frank DiBello, CEO of Space Florida, provided his view, "Today's announcement by Sierra Nevada Corporation continues to verify a strong commercial interest in the SLF," said Space Florida President Frank DiBello. "It is clear that the future growth of commercial space is happening here in Florida and we couldn't be happier to work with SNC to realize their Florida-based expansion goals."

In closing, Steve Lindsey, SNC's senior director and Dream Chaser program manager, added his final thoughts, "I had the privilege of piloting and commanding five Space Shuttle flights as a NASA astronaut. This included the last flight of Discovery which was processed, launched, and on March 9, 2011, made its final landing at the SLF after 39 flights and 148 million space miles. Mark, the entire SNC Dream Chaser team, and I look forward to seeing Dream Chaser continue this legacy from Discovery when it flies in 2016."

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Sierra Nevada Corp. release
Sierra Nevada Corporation Enters Dream Chaser Critical Design Review

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announces the completion of the Dream Chaser Incremental Critical Design Review (CDR) with the completion of Milestone 10a under its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) agreement with NASA.

Mark N. Sirangelo, corporate vice president and head of SNC Space Systems made the announcement at the Annual Reliability and Maintainability Symposium during his keynote address. RAMS is the premier event in the reliability, availability, and maintainability engineering disciplines. The RAMS event attracted hundreds of safety and reliability practitioners and engineering leaders from around the world.

"SNC's Dream Chaser program continues its steady progress forward on the way to flight certification by completing this important milestone which begins our Dream Chaser Critical Design Review process," said Sirangelo. "SNC is firmly committed to providing the safest, most reliable, and efficiently maintainable orbital transportation system with, the Dream Chaser Space System, by having the most experienced technical, safety, reliability and quality assurance team possible. The team is definitely ensuring that we incorporate the latest technology from all of these processes into SNC's design."

NASA added Milestone 10a to SNC's CCiCap initiative in 2013 as part of the expansion of SNC's program. During this entry milestone review, NASA approved the critical design products, plans, and processes that are being used to develop the Dream Chaser Space System (DCSS), which includes the Dream Chaser spacecraft, Atlas launch vehicle, mission and ground systems. The CDR level products will also support the subsystem and element critical design reviews that are occurring throughout the year and culminating with system level reviews scheduled to ensure all technical performance requirements are met while meeting Dream Chaser Program schedule and budget. The DCSS fabrication, assembly, integration, and test process has begun to support the recently announced November 2016 orbital launch.

John Turner, SNC's director of safety and mission assurance for the Dream Chaser program, and member of the RAMS management committee added his thoughts, "I had the privilege of spending over 26 years at NASA working on planning, development, operations and safety aspects of the space shuttle, International Space Station, and Constellation Human Spaceflight programs. My main focus was and remains to ensure that all flight programs were safe, successful and exceeded mission targets. We are incorporating those best practices and lessons learned into our CDR processes for the Dream Chaser. We also have a world class team with strong experience in safety and risk management to ensure that we certify Dream Chaser as the safest human spaceflight vehicle yet to fly."

David Oberhettinger, the general chair of the RAMS 2014 symposium held in Colorado Springs, Colo., noted, "RAMS® is excited to have companies like SNC participate in our annual conference and benefit from the unique opportunities that we offer. Conference participants gain insights into latest advances in the field of reliability and maintainability than can be immediately applied to assure high product reliability, safety and mission success."

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Sierra Nevada Corp. release
Sierra Nevada Corporation Completes Dream Chaser Flight Profile Data Milestone

Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) announces the successful completion of a flight-profile data review milestone for its Dream Chaser spacecraft.

Completed under the Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) agreement, Milestone 4a gave engineers the opportunity to review data from the Dream Chaser flight test that was conducted at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in collaboration with NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center. To date, SNC has completed over 70 percent of its CCiCap agreement total award value, receiving 100 percent of the milestone value awarded for each milestone completed.

The Milestone 4a flight test objectives included the collection of all nominal glide slope and other critical aerodynamic data for the Dream Chaser in-flight profile. The Dream Chaser team collected and evaluated data gathered from additional aerodynamic modeling instrumentation sensors specifically placed onto the Dream Chaser spacecraft prior to the flight test. Upon thorough post flight analysis conducted by the SNC team and review by NASA, the results validated the aerodynamic performance of the Dream Chaser and significantly matured its aerodynamic database in the subsonic region of flight. In addition to demonstrating the Dream Chaser spacecraft's autonomous flight control system in Milestone 4a, the Dream Chaser team was able to authenticate that over 40 aerodynamic predictions from extensive analysis matched within the limits of the actual vehicle performance.

Mark Sirangelo, corporate vice president and head of SNC's Space Systems said, "Milestone 4a proved the Dream Chaser flies well and that the path the Dream Chaser will take throughout its expected flight profile can be reliably predicted. SNC was able to show NASA that our trajectory analysis and flight performance modeling tools and techniques were able to accurately forecast the flight performance of Dream Chaser from the start of free flight through runway touchdown. Now that we have successfully passed a second flight-based milestone we have further reassurance that our vehicle design is sound and that our spacecraft can successfully fly within established and expected flight boundaries. We are now advancing and upgrading the Dream Chaser test spacecraft in preparation for additional expanded flight tests in 2014."

SNC is working with NASA's Commercial Crew Program to develop a safe, innovative, modern, flexible and highly-capable crew transportation system for the 21st Century. Dream Chaser provides the only reusable, human-rated lifting-body spacecraft with a commercial runway landing capability, anywhere in the world, and is on the forefront of the commercial human spaceflight industry, offering safe, reliable and cost-effective crew and critical cargo transportation to low-Earth orbit.

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Sierra Nevada Corp. release
Sierra Nevada Corporation Expands Work in Huntsville with Marshall Space Flight Center and Teledyne Brown Engineering for Dream Chaser Advanced Development Applications

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announces the expansion of its Dream Chaser program team and scope of work in Huntsville, Ala., with the signing of a Space Act Agreement (SAA) Annex with NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) and a Teaming Agreement with Teledyne Brown Engineering (TBE).

During today's press conference at MSFC, Mark N. Sirangelo, corporate vice president and head of SNC's Space Systems, presented details of the two new agreements that advance the Dream Chaser spacecraft to enable science payload operations and technology development in support of continued growth and utilization of space and the International Space Station (ISS).

Sirangelo outlined the substantial contribution each partner will make towards the Dream Chaser Advanced Development program. Sirangelo stated, "Today we are pleased to announce that we are increasing our presence in Alabama by expanding our relationship with the Marshall Space Flight Center and adding Teledyne Brown Engineering to our growing Dream Chaser team. Each of these organizations provide experts in their respective fields and have already begun applying their invaluable knowledge and experience. We will work together to evaluate future low-Earth orbit (LEO) mission concepts for the Dream Chaser in the area of scientific payload operations with the goal of enhancing and enabling science in LEO. We are honored they are joining our already dynamic list of partners – our "Dream Team" - which now includes over 15 companies, seven NASA centers and a growing list of universities. The team spans more than 30 states and several countries with the common goal of furthering the development of the multi-mission Dream Chaser spacecraft."

SNC's Space System's Advanced Development group is responsible for overseeing the multi-mission capability of the Dream Chaser spacecraft which includes crew-capable LEO servicing, science and transportation missions. The inherent capabilities of the reusable Dream Chaser lifting body spacecraft, as illustrated by its low-g reentry and runway landing, make it an ideal vehicle to support a variety of LEO missions.

SNC selected MSFC's Mission Operations Laboratory (MOL), an authority in mission operations for science payloads aboard the ISS, to collaborate with SNC's engineers to evaluate Design Reference Missions, operations planning, training and mission execution for utilizing the Dream Chaser as a platform to complement and support science being performed on the ISS.

"We are glad to share the knowledge and expertise we've gained through our decades of experience with payload development for space shuttle missions and operating and maintaining science research on the International Space Station," said Patrick Scheuermann, Marshall director. "We have enjoyed a successful partnership with Sierra Nevada Corporation for more than two years and look forward to continued collaboration."

The MOL is run by a dedicated team of civil servants and experienced commercial contractors led by Teledyne Brown Engineering, a close partner to SNC. Under the Teaming Agreement, SNC and TBE are working together to evaluate strategic and technical partnership opportunities for the Dream Chaser Advanced Development team and other space systems collaborations.

"We are very pleased to team with Sierra Nevada Corporation in the development of the Dream Chaser," said Rex D. Geveden, executive vice president, Teledyne Technologies Incorporated. "This is an exceptional opportunity to apply our capabilities in payload development and integration to an exciting new space transportation system."

SNC signed its first Space Act Agreement with NASA's Marshall Center in 2012 leveraging MSFC's expertise and resources to perform wind tunnel testing on various configurations of the Dream Chaser/United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch stack in MSFC's trisonic wind tunnel lab. The data generated from the series of tests helped define the vehicles' aerodynamic characteristics in flight.

SNC opened its Huntsville office on Perimeter Parkway in 2011 and occupies hangar space at the Huntsville airport. In addition to the many subcontracts supported throughout the state of Alabama, SNC operates three of its six business areas in Huntsville, including Communications, Navigation and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management, Integrated Mission Systems, and Space Systems, which leads its Dream Chaser thermal protection system development in Huntsville.

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Sierra Nevada Corp. release
Sierra Nevada Corporation and Lockheed Martin Expand Dream Chaser Orbital Vehicle Manufacturing

In a press conference held today at the Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in Michoud, La., Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and Dream Chaser strategic partner Lockheed Martin announced the expansion of SNC Dream Chaser spacecraft orbital vehicle manufacturing operations.

As a valued member of SNC's Dream Chaser Dream Team, Lockheed Martin is under contract to manufacture the next Dream Chaser composite structure which will be for the first orbital vehicle scheduled to launch on November 1, 2016. The MAF, which is owned and operated by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, has been operational since 1961 and has played a significant role on our nation's space programs ranging from Apollo to the space shuttle. Today, leveraging the experience, technical expertise and current infrastructure at Michoud, next generation vehicles such as SNC's Dream Chaser and Lockheed Martin's Orion are being fabricated within the same walls as legendary programs.

"Michoud and the state of Louisiana, have a vital role in our nation's space program," said Mark N. Sirangelo, corporate vice president and head of SNC's Space Systems. "We look to continue this valuable role through our partnership with Lockheed Martin for the build of our next Dream Chaser composite structure at the Michoud Assembly Facility. We will be utilizing MAF's existing facilities, partnerships and the workforce of Louisiana to bring America's future transportation vehicles for low-Earth orbit to reality while continuing to expand the Dream Chaser program footprint, which now provides employment in over 30 states."

SNC chose Lockheed Martin to manufacture the Dream Chaser orbital composite structure based on their rich human spaceflight manufacturing heritage, including building the External Tank for the space shuttle program, and their work for the Orion program Fabricating key elements of Dream Chaser structures at MAF leverages Orion manufacturing efforts currently underway, while also taking advantage of existing facilities, relationships and assets, such as the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing (NCAM).

"Lockheed Martin's history at MAF brings a wealth of experience to the Dream Chaser program," said Jim Crocker, vice president of Lockheed Martin's Space Systems Company Civil Space Line of Business. "Not only are we leveraging manufacturing processes and technology, we are also leveraging the Human Rating Certification methodology developed by the Orion program, which was then tailored to Dream Chaser."

Currently, the Dream Chaser spacecraft orbital vehicle is in the early stage of the fabrication process at MAF. Fabrication of composite structures started in January 2014 with cabin ring frame production at MAF. Complex part fabrication will begin upon receipt of tooling in April 2014. As each composite structure is completed, it will then be shipped to Lockheed Martin's facility in Fort Worth, Texas, for assembly and final inspection before being released to SNC.

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Sierra Nevada Corp. release
Sierra Nevada Corporation Completes Critical Wind Tunnel Tests for its Dream Chaser Spacecraft

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announces the successful completion of the latest milestone in its NASA Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) agreement. NASA awarded SNC full value of $20 million for the passage of CCiCap Milestone 8, Wind Tunnel Testing. To date, SNC has received over 80 percent of the total award value under the CCiCap agreement and is on track to complete the program later this year.

The purpose of Milestone 8 was to continue to advance the overall design of the Dream Chaser orbital spacecraft by analyzing the forces and flight dynamic characteristics that the vehicle will experience during orbital ascent and re-entry. The completion of this milestone significantly advances the path to orbital flight of the Dream Chaser spacecraft and the Dream Chaser Atlas V integrated launch system.

Several Dream Chaser scale model spacecraft were subjected to multiple different wind tunnel tests in various configurations, including the integrated Dream Chaser attached to the United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle. In addition to the baseline milestone criteria, SNC fully self-funded an additional wind tunnel test that will accelerate the Dream Chaser development schedule and path to completion of the Critical Design Review.

"The aerodynamic data collected during these tests has further proven and validated Dream Chaser's integrated spacecraft and launch vehicle system design. It also has shown that Dream Chaser expected performance is greater than initially predicted," said Mark N. Sirangelo, corporate vice president and head of SNC's Space Systems. "Our program continues to fully complete each of our CCiCap agreement milestones assisted through our strong collaboration efforts with our integrated 'Dream Team' of industry, university and government strategic partners."

"We are on schedule to launch our first orbital flight in November of 2016, which will mark the beginning of the restoration of U.S. crew capability to low-Earth orbit."

The wind tunnel tests for this milestone were completed at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, CALSPAN Transonic Wind Tunnel in New York, and at NASA's Langley Research Center Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel in Hampton, Virginia. SNC has a long standing relationship with Langley dating to 2004, the beginning of its development for the Dream Chaser, a derivative of NASA's HL-20 lifting body vehicle.

Langley also houses the full motion-based flight simulator, which operates using Dream Chaser flight software and has been used to train future Dream Chaser pilots and NASA astronauts.

In addition to these locations, previous wind tunnel testing also occurred at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama and at Texas A&M University.

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Sierra Nevada Corp. release
Sierra Nevada Corporation Matures Dream Chaser Main Propulsion and Reaction Control System Design

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announces it has completed a major Main Propulsion System (MPS) and Reaction Control System (RCS) risk reduction milestone for the Dream Chaser Space System, maturing the design of each system close to Critical Design Review (CDR). The milestone positions SNC one step closer to restoring U.S. crew transportation to low-Earth orbit (LEO).

SNC completed the work for milestone 9a under its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) agreement with NASA. In total, SNC has received over 80 percent of the total award value of the CCiCap agreement having successfully completed 10 of 13 milestones.

The Main Propulsion System is based on SNC's patented rocket motor technology. To date, SNC has performed hundreds of rocket motor test firings at its Poway, California, facility advancing the motor technology with each test. The Dream Chaser MPS will not only power the spacecraft in orbit, it also offers a unique abort capability while on the launch pad and throughout the flight trajectory, unlike human space transportation capsules. The MPS technology used on the Dream Chaser results in a safe runway landing during an abort scenario, further reducing risk to the crew, spacecraft and payload.

The RCS, which is being designed by Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC), will provide precise on-orbit control of the Dream Chaser spacecraft. The RCS will provide maneuvering capability to allow for the accurate docking of the Dream Chaser to destinations in low-Earth orbit. Dream Chaser is a multi-mission capable spacecraft that has the ability to operate as an independent science platform or as a logistics vehicle to retrieve, repair, replace, assemble or deploy items in space.

"Safety is paramount in the design of the Dream Chaser Space System," said Mark N. Sirangelo, corporate vice president of SNC's Space Systems. "It is driven by reliability, rigorous quality assurance, consistent performance and extensive testing and analysis. In passing this milestone we are able to validate our safety and performance, while decreasing the risk for each of these systems. Completing this milestone moves the Dream Chaser closer to the Critical Design Review of our complete system.

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Sierra Nevada release
Sierra Nevada Corporation Completes Major Dream Chaser NASA CCiCap Milestone

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announces it has successfully passed Milestone 9, the Risk Reduction and Technology Readiness Level (TRL) Advancement Testing milestone, for several critical Dream Chaser systems under NASA's Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) agreement. Milestone 9 culminated in a major comprehensive review of various hardware systems. To date, SNC has received 92 percent of the total award value of the CCiCap agreement.

As defined in the Milestone 9 criteria, SNC completed a series of Risk Reduction and TRL advancements on five major systems on the technologically advanced, Dream Chaser spacecraft lifting-body design. The five specific systems subjected to extensive testing were: Crew Systems, Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS), Structures, Thermal Control (TCS) and Thermal Protection Systems (TPS).

Above: Sierra Nevada's Lee Archambault prepares for the Dream Chaser crew systems test.

The comprehensive set of tests were in addition to the Risk Reduction and TRL advancement tests completed on the Main Propulsion System and Reaction Control System as part of the recently, and successfully, completed CCiCap Milestone 9a, as announced in SNC's press release of July 8, 2014. The data collected from the more than 3,500 tests completed over a year during these two milestones resulted in continued maturation of the Dream Chaser spacecraft design and significantly retired overall program risk.

With the successful completion of Milestones 9 and 9a, SNC has continued to demonstrate, through rigorous testing, that it puts safety first as the team refines the highly capable spacecraft design that will ferry people to and from low-Earth orbit (LEO).

"By thoroughly assessing and mitigating each of the previously identified design risks, SNC is continuing to prove that Dream Chaser is a safe, robust, and reliable spacecraft," said Mark N. Sirangelo, corporate vice president of SNC's Space Systems. "These crucial validations are vital steps in our Critical Design Review and in showing that we have a very advanced and capable spacecraft. This will allow us to quickly and confidently move forward in restoring cutting-edge transportation to low-Earth orbit from the U.S."

The comprehensive Milestone 9 systems tests that were conducted included:

  • TPS: Extensive design qualification testing was conducted at NASA's Ames Research Center in California and NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia through existing Space Act Agreements to validate TPS design performance. This effort included over 350 tests that allowed SNC to select the optimal TPS architecture for Dream Chaser to safely fly through the high-heat-load atmospheric environment during nominal return to Earth as well as during high altitude ascent aborts.

  • Structures: Numerous tests were conducted in collaboration with SNC Dream Team member Lockheed Martin at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in Louisiana. More than 1,500 stress tests were executed on the primary structure to fully validate the strength and reliability of the Dream Chaser advanced composite structure.

  • Crew Systems: Multiple tests were performed at SNC's Space Systems headquarters in Louisville, Colorado. These crew-related assessments included reach and visibility, as well as crew ingress and egress testing in the horizontal and vertical positions, all in the new full-scale Dream Chaser crew cabin mockup. Over 25 tests were conducted totaling more than 90 hours of data.

  • ECLSS: Human-in-the-loop tests were performed to analyze temperatures and metabolic rates for crew as part of an in-orbit simulation at Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC) of Wisconsin in conjunction with their teammate UTC Aerospace in Connecticut.

  • TCS: Both internal and external active thermal control of the spacecraft was successfully demonstrated through rigorous testing by Orbitec at their facilities.
Collectively, this broad array of rigorous testing exemplifies SNC's commitment to safety, transparency, and technical rigor as part of an overall test-rich spacecraft development strategy.

SNC is working with NASA's Commercial Crew Program during the development of the Dream Chaser — a safe, innovative, modern, flexible and highly-capable crew transportation system for the 21st Century. Dream Chaser provides the only reusable, human-rated, lifting-body spacecraft with a commercial runway landing capability, anywhere in the world.

SNC is on the forefront of the commercial human spaceflight industry, offering safe, reliable and cost-effective crew and critical cargo transportation to and from LEO.

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Sierra Nevada release
Sierra Nevada Corporation Announces Collaboration with Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announced today (July 23) the expansion of its Dream Chaser Space System's global partnership to include Asia and the Pacific Rim through a recently signed memorandum of cooperative understanding with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

SNC will work with JAXA on potential applications of Japanese technologies and the development of mission concepts for the Dream Chaser spacecraft. Additionally, SNC and JAXA will explore the possibility of launching and landing the Dream Chaser spacecraft in Japan. This international collaboration will widen the breadth of the global capabilities offered by SNC's Dream Chaser reusable, lifting-body spacecraft.

Currently, the Dream Chaser is undergoing development and flight test preparations to transport astronauts from the United States and partner nations to low-Earth orbit (LEO) destinations, such as the International Space Station (ISS). The first Dream Chaser orbital launch is scheduled for November 2016. Beyond the technical collaboration, the cooperation seeks to maintain and strengthen the existing global space partnerships established between Japan and the U.S.

JAXA joins the expanding SNC international team that includes the European Space Agency (ESA) and the German Space Agency (DLR). SNC is confident that the expertise the Japanese bring will further advance the development of the Dream Chaser spacecraft, while providing JAXA access to Dream Chaser flights to advance its space technologies, flight opportunities and space interests in LEO.

"We are excited about the potential of this new relationship with Japan," said Mark N. Sirangelo, corporate vice president of SNC's Space Systems. "This expands our global Dream Chaser Space System partnerships to include another major ISS partner with demonstrated capabilities that significantly advance space education and exploration. Japan, like the United States, has the infrastructure to support both launch and landing of the Dream Chaser spacecraft within its own borders."

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Sierra Nevada Corporation release
Sierra Nevada Corp. and Lockheed Martin unveil Dream Chaser spacecraft composite structure

In a joint press conference, Sierra Nevada Corporation's (SNC) Space Systems and Dream Chaser program partner, Lockheed Martin unveiled the Dream Chaser orbital spacecraft composite airframe. This structure will be used to conduct the first orbital launch of the Dream Chaser spacecraft due to launch in November, 2016, atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

"As a valued strategic partner on SNC's Dream Chaser Dream Team, Lockheed Martin is under contract to manufacture Dream Chaser orbital structure airframes," said Mark N. Sirangelo, corporate vice president of SNC's Space Systems. "We competitively chose Lockheed Martin because they are a world leader in composite manufacturing, have the infrastructure, resources and quality control needed to support the needs of an orbital vehicle and have a proven track record of leading our nation's top aviation and aerospace programs. Lockheed Martin's diverse heritage coupled with their current work on the Orion program adds an extra element of depth and expertise to our program. SNC and Lockheed Martin continue to expand and develop a strong multi-faceted relationship."

Earlier this year Lockheed Martin began fabrication of the Dream Chaser orbital spacecraft structure at the Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans, Louisiana. The MAF, which is owned and operated by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, has played a significant role in our nation's space programs from Apollo to the space shuttle, and most recently, Orion spacecraft manufacturing. As each Dream Chaser structural component completes the fabrication and inspection process at MAF, it is transported to Lockheed Martin's Aeronautics facility in Fort Worth, Texas for integration into the airframe and co-bonded assembly.

Lockheed Martin's Fort Worth facility manufactures and assembles the world's top fighter aircraft, the F-35 Lighting II and the F-16 Fighting Falcon. Combined with technology mastered at Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works®, the Dream Chaser team is able to leverage their extensive experience in the areas of composites and advanced manufacturing to ensure the Dream Chaser orbital structure is fabricated, built and assembled using best practices. In addition, Lockheed Martin is applying advanced 3D preform technology for joint assembly thereby reducing overall part and tooling count while improving assembly and integration time. Through these improved processes, SNC and Lockheed Martin are able to improve the overall durability, weight efficiency and affordability of the spacecraft.

"Lockheed Martin's depth of aviation and aerospace experience brings a wealth of expertise to the Dream Chaser composite structure development," said Jim Crocker, vice president of Lockheed Martin's Space Systems Company Civil Space Line of Business. "We are able to tailor our best manufacturing processes, and our innovative technology from across the corporation to fit the needs of the Dream Chaser program."

In addition to the current Dream Chaser airframe manufacturing work, Lockheed Martin is also supporting SNC in the areas of vehicle assembly, integration, environmental testing, ground support equipment, flight certification and spacecraft launch and recovery. This work is performed at various Lockheed Martin facilities in Louisiana, Texas, Florida and Colorado.

Upon completion of manufacturing Lockheed Martin will transport the Dream Chaser airframe to SNC's Louisville, Colorado, facility for final integration and assembly.

See here for discussion of SNC's efforts to develop its Dream Chaser vehicle.

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