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Satnews Daily
July 29th, 2016

Next Test Steps For Dream Chaser

Taking their series of Dream Chaser tests that were completed during Phase One, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) will now be initiating tests that build on the earlier successes... these tests will include tow, pre-flight and free-flight testing.;

Dream Chaser is ready for transportation to NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC) in California where the Phase Two flight tests will be conducted in coordination with Edwards Air Force Base (AFB). Dream Chaser program upgrades and initial hardware testing were completed at the Louisville, Colorado, spacecraft assembly facility and, within the next several weeks, the same Dream Chaser vehicle that conducted Phase One flight testing will arrive at NASA’s AFRC. Upon arrival, SNC will start a series of pre-flight ground evaluations to verify and validate the vehicle’s system and subsystem designs. After successful completion of all ground testing, Dream Chaser will begin the Phase Two free-flight testing. These activities are being conducted through a Space Act Agreement with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP).

Artistic rendition of SNC's Dream Chaser Spacecraft and Cargo Module attached to the ISS.
Image is courtesy of Sierra Nevada Corporation.

SNC is also performing additional critical tests to validate the Dream Chaser’s orbital flight software and calculate the spacecraft's handling and performance characteristics. Along with other pre-flight and post-flight evaluations, this data will be used to confirm Dream Chaser’s subsonic aerodynamic properties as well as flight software and control system performance requirements.

According to Mark N. Sirangelo, Corporate Vice President of SNC’s Space Systems business area, Dream Chaser continues to make strong progress toward orbital flight. In addition to Phase Two flight testing, the on-time completion of the first two milestones under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contract in the last two months positions SNC well to be on-schedule for orbital operational flight. These tests are significant for the company in multiple ways; building on the previous flight test, completing a significant milestone under the CCP agreement, as well as gathering crucial data that will help complete the design of the vehicle being built for the CRS-2 contract.