Louisville, Colo. 1 June 2012. Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC), an electronic systems provider and systems integrator, is beginning its Dream Chaser space system's flight test program with the captive carry of a full scale Dream Chaser Flight Vehicle near the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Colorado. This test marks the 12th Program Milestone for NASA's commercial crew development round two (CCDev) program and the 16th overall for SNC under NASA CCDev.
The Dream Chaser is a crewed suborbital and orbital vertical-takeoff, horizontal landing lifting-body space plane that was developed by SpaceDev, a subsidiary of SNC. The Dream Chaser is designed to carry seven people to and from low earth orbit. The vehicle is designed to be launched vertically on an Atlas V rocket and land horizontally on conventional runways.
The Dream Chaser was publicly announced in September of 2004 as a candidate for the NASA vision for space exploration, and then for the commercial orbital transportation services program.
The Dream Chaser Flight Vehicle was carried aloft on May 29th, 2012, and met all the pre-established flight test goals. This was the first full scale flight test of the Dream Chaser Flight Vehicle, which will continue to conduct flight tests in preparation for an autonomous approach and landing test (ALT) scheduled for later this summer at the Edwards Air Force Base and in conjunction with the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center.
The Dream Chaser Space System is being developed as part of NASA’s venture into commercially provided crew transport. Captive carrying testing provides SNC an early opportunity to evaluate and prove hardware, facilities and ground operations in preparation for ALT scheduling for later this year.