Space

Dream Chaser cleared to visit space station in 2020

Dream Chaser cleared to visit ...
Dream Chaser has been cleared to visit the ISS in 2020
Dream Chaser has been cleared to visit the ISS in 2020
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Artist's rendering of the Dream Chaser spacecraft docked on the ISS
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Artist's rendering of the Dream Chaser spacecraft docked on the ISS
Dream Chaser has been cleared to visit the ISS in 2020
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Dream Chaser has been cleared to visit the ISS in 2020
Dream Chaser boasts a number of capabilities for various mission configurations
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Dream Chaser boasts a number of capabilities for various mission configurations

Commercial traffic at the International Space Station (ISS) is set to get more congested with news that the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has been given the green light for its Dream Chaser spacecraft to visit the orbital laboratory in late 2020. The Authority to Proceed notification opens the way for SNC's unmanned cargo ship to undertake its first mission under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services Contract 2 (CRS2).

Though SNC missed out on NASA's first round of cargo contracts for the International Space Station (ISS), which went to SpaceX and Orbital ATK, the builder of the lifting body spacecraft that looks like a miniature Space Shuttle made the second round in 2016. According to SNC CEO Faith Ozmen, the Dream Chaser met its critical design milestones and now has a launch timetable.

Dream Chaser boasts a number of capabilities for various mission configurations
Dream Chaser boasts a number of capabilities for various mission configurations

The first mission hasn't been outlined in any detail, but the Dream Chaser boasts a number of capabilities for various mission configurations. It can handle cargoes of up to 5,500 kg (12,125 lb) in pressurized and unpressurized areas, remain berthed with the ISS for extended periods, can act as a flying laboratory that can operate by remote control, has power for science payloads, can host experiments in both the pressure cabin and unpressurized cargo areas, and can bring back up to Earth 2,000 kg (4,400 lb) of cargo for a landing at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF).

Dream Chaser has been cleared to visit the ISS in 2020
Dream Chaser has been cleared to visit the ISS in 2020

"The Dream Chaser is going to be a tremendous help to the critical science and research happening on the space station," says Mark Sirangelo, executive vice president of SNC's Space Systems business area. "Receiving NASA's Authority to Proceed is a big step for the program. We can't wait to see the vehicle return to Kennedy Space Center to a runway landing, allowing immediate access to the science payloads being returned from the station."

Source: SNC

2 comments
ErstO
Excited to see it, but unlike Boeing and SpaceX, the Dream Catcher has a very narrow niche.... It will be great for replacing the Soyus in resupply or crew rotations on the ISS.... but President Trump wants to end funding for ISS missions by 2025.... so with the first flight in 2020, the dream catcher has a five year run.
Wombat56
ErstO, It's very unlikely that Trump will be around after 2020, so its lifetime is still an open question.