Saturday, February 2, 2013

Space Shuttle Replacement 'Dream Chaser' Advances

Giant Leap in Race to Replace Space Shuttle? Dream Chaser Gets Big Boost

PHOTO: This artist's rendering provided by Sierra Nevada Space Systems shows the company's Dream Chaser spacecraft docking with the International Space Station.
One of three companies vying to ferry US astronauts to and from the International Space Station has inked a multimillion dollar deal with aerospace giant Lockheed Martin in a move aimed at preparing a craft dubbed Dream Chaser for the task.

The move by Sierra Nevada Corp. highlights the pace at which the company's plans are morphing from plans on paper to hardware on the shop floor. "We're moving from concept to the next phase of the program, probably faster than most people realize," said Mark Sirangelo, who heads the company's space-systems division.

Through Lockheed Martin, Sierra Nevada will have access to expertise in using composite materials that Dream Chaser needs, as well as to large manufacturing facilities required to assemble several craft. In addition, Lockheed developed the Atlas V rocket, which is a likely launch vehicle for Dream Chaser, and has experience working with NASA to certify spacecraft for human spaceflight.

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Sources: The Christan Science Monitor, ABC News.


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