4 May 2011
Online - Vehicles (Good)
Chasing the New Space Dream
With US$80 million to give it wings
by Alan Breakstone
Space and technology writer Michael Belfiore has reported on Sierra Nevada Corporationís (SNC) DreamChaser seven-seat spacecraft. SNC was one of four companies awarded development money from NASAís
Belfiore, like
NASA, was impressed with SNCís capabilities and the progress already made in developing the DreamChaser, which will be boosted into orbit atop an Atlas V rocket. He is also correct that NASAís in-house Shuttle successor, Constellation, is way behind schedule and over budget, with Congress pushing Constellation more as a jobs program than as a viable next step in human spaceflight.

SNC is an aerospace and defense company with nearly 2100 employees, according to the companyís own website. As previously reported in SpaceFuture Journal (Virgin in a Three-Way Partnership) DreamChaser is a project of SNCís SpaceDev subsidiary, best known for building SpaceShipOneís powerful hybrid rocket engine. Hobbyspace.com quotes SpaceDevís Mark Sirangelo as saying that over 5000 SNC components and satellites have flown in space.

NASA is clearly impressed with that track record, giving SNC US$80 Million in CCDev seed money to continue DreamChaser development.

And as also reported in SpaceFuture Journal (Virgin in a Three-Way Partnership), Virgin Galactic is also involved in the DreamChaser project. Even as Virginís suborbital SpaceShipTwo continues flight tests, Virgin is looking at the DreamChaser as it seeks to expand its space tourism capabilities to low earth orbit later in this decade.
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Alan Breakstone 4 May 2011
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