Sierra Nevada Corp. has announced the company's Dream Chaser Space System has been awarded $212.5 million as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Integrated Capability Program.
"We are pleased to be selected to continue development of the Dream Chaser Space System and proud that NASA is showing confidence in the SNC team's ability to develop our nation's next human spacecraft,” said Jim Voss, vice president of SNC's Space Exploration Systems and Dream Chaser program manager. “Our team will continue to work with NASA to ensure that the Dream Chaser is a reliable and safe spacecraft to carry NASA astronauts to the International Space Station."
The 21-month contract begins immediately.
The Dream Chaser is based on NASA’s HL-20 lifting body design, and will be launched on the Atlas V launch vehicle.
A lifting body is a specialized a fixed-wing aircraft configuration in which the body itself produces lift and is more desirable for subsonic, supersonic, and hypersonic flight, or spacecraft re-entry.
Testing is scheduled for later this year, mirroring the first flight test of the Space Shuttle Program. Provided all milestones are met, the award will allow SNC to complete development of the Dream Chaser Space System and transport crews to space as early as 2016.
The Dream Chaser design passed one of its most complex tests to date with a successful captive-carry test conducted near the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Jefferson County on May 29.
In Colorado, Sierra Nevada Corporation has operations located in Louisville, Englewood and Centennial.