NASA’s Commercial Crew Partner Sierra Nevada Corporation Completes Dream Chaser Flight Test Milestone

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Space Systems
successfully completed a captive carry test” of its full-scale Dream
Chaser orbital crew vehicle Tuesday, marking a new milestone in the
company’s effort to develop transportation for astronauts to low
Earth orbit and the International Space Station.

During the test, the Dream Chaser flight vehicle was carried under an
Erickson Air-Crane helicopter to assess the vehicle’s aerodynamic
flight performance, which will allow additional flight tests in the
future. The helicopter flew for approximately an hour near the Rocky
Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Jefferson County, Colo.
.
SNC is one of several companies working to develop commercial crew
transportation capabilities under the Commercial Crew Development
Round 2 (CCDev2) agreement with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP), which is helping spur innovation and development of new spacecraft and launch vehicles from the commercial industry.

“This is a very positive success for the Dream Chaser team and their
innovative approach,” NASA CCP Program Manager Ed Mango said. “I
applaud and encourage the designers and engineers to continue their
efforts in meeting the objectives of the rest of their CCDev2
milestones.”

The Dream Chaser is designed to carry as many as seven astronauts to
space. It is the only spacecraft under CCDev2 that is winged and
designed to land on a conventional runway. Data from the test will
provide SNC an early opportunity to evaluate and prove hardware,
facilities and ground operations in preparation for approach and
landing tests scheduled for later this year.

“The successful captive carry flight test of the Dream Chaser full
scale flight vehicle marks the beginning of SNC’s flight test
program, a program that could culminate in crewed missions to the
International Space Station for NASA,” said Steve Lindsey, former
NASA astronaut and head of Dream Chaser’s flight operations for SNC.

Additional milestones leading up to the test included evaluating the
performance of the main landing gear selected for use on the Dream
Chaser flight vehicle, an interface test to demonstrate the release
mechanism between the spacecraft prototype and the heavy-lift
helicopter, and a thorough flight test readiness review with
engineers, technical experts and representatives from SNC and NASA.
Another milestone evaluated the separation system compatibility of
Dream Chaser with its initial launch vehicle, the United Launch
Alliance Atlas V rocket, which would be used to release the
spacecraft from the rocket’s second stage after it has placed the
spacecraft into low Earth orbit.

All of NASA’s industry partners, including SNC, continue to meet their
established milestones in developing commercial crew transportation
capabilities.

For more video and images of the test flight, and more information
about NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew

For more information on Sierra Nevada Space Systems, visit:

http://www.SNCspace.com

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For Inquiries, Contact:
Candrea Thomas
+44 (0) 144-340-8125
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