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Space & Astronomy

Shuttle replacement gets 2016 launch date

By T.K. Randall
January 26, 2014 · Comment icon 9 comments



The Dream Chaser can seat seven astronauts. Image Credit: NASA / Ken Ulbrich
The Dream Chaser mini-shuttle is due to undertake its maiden voyage on November 1st, 2016.
The small winged vehicle is set to actively replace NASA's space shuttles by giving America the ability to once again send astronauts in to space without having to rely on Russia's Soyuz spacecraft.
Developed by the Sierra Nevada Corporation in conjunction with NASA, the Dream Chaser is 9m long and looks a lot like a small space shuttle. It will launch from Florida's Kennedy Space Centre atop an Atlus V rocket and can carry up to seven astronauts in to low-Earth orbit before returning to the Earth.

The Dream Chaser's maiden unmanned voyage is set to take place on November 1st 2016 with a manned mission to follow the year after. It is one of three shuttle replacements currently in development which also include Boeing's CST-100 capsule and the SpaceX Dragon.

Source: BBC News | Comments (9)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Xynoplas 9 years ago
I initially thought this was sponsored by a brewery.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Xynoplas 9 years ago
It could happen.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 9 years ago
Sierra Nevada Corporation's Dream Chaser® Highlight VideoThis video summarizes the development, testing and manufacturing of America's next generation commercial crew vehicle, Sierra Nevada Corporation's Dream Chaser spacecraft! SNC is working with NASA's Commercial Crew Program to develop an innovative, modern, flexible and highly-capable crew transportation system for the 21st Century. The DCSS provides the only reusable, lifting-body human-rated spacecraft with a commercial runway landing capability, anywhere in the world. The DCSS is on the forefront of the commercial human spaceflight ind... [More]
Comment icon #4 Posted by Sundew 9 years ago
So this is like the Shuttle, no landing engines and only one chance at a safe landing? At least this vastly increases WHERE you can land, because I seem to remember a few missions where bad weather kept the Shuttle from its primary landing sites.
Comment icon #5 Posted by hegman44 9 years ago
Why don't they just break out the top secret space craft they have had for years, but just haven't made it known to the public, the government, and just about everyone else, there are black projects out there with highly advanced technology, they just don't want to go public with it because, well i'm not sure why, but we have the crafts for space travel, just highly top secret, but I guess we will have to wait on NASA.
Comment icon #6 Posted by GreenmansGod 9 years ago
So this is like the Shuttle, no landing engines and only one chance at a safe landing? At least this vastly increases WHERE you can land, because I seem to remember a few missions where bad weather kept the Shuttle from its primary landing sites. Takes a lot of fuel to get in orbit and fuel adds weight. Even Virgin Galactic uses a glider system for landing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpaceShipTwo Why don't they just break out the top secret space craft they have had for years, but just haven't made it known to the public, the government, and just about everyone else, there are black projects... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by Merc14 9 years ago
Why the skid strip on the front landing gear instead of a steerable tire: With a target a landing speed of 191 knots, Dream Chaser will touch down with its Main Landing Gear, before pitching the nose forward on to an inbuilt skid strip, as opposed to a Nose Landing Gear wheel. Speaking of the rationale for opting to use a skid strip, SNC noted it is a simple, light, safe option. They also added that there had been some issues with the analysis of the performance of tires in the space environment and this eliminates one of the tires – with the other two tires easier to control than the nose whe... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by Calibeliever 9 years ago
Oh. That is cool.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Babe Ruth 9 years ago
So this is like the Shuttle, no landing engines and only one chance at a safe landing? At least this vastly increases WHERE you can land, because I seem to remember a few missions where bad weather kept the Shuttle from its primary landing sites. Just like a helicopter in autorotation, the vehicle cannot go around. Obviously, the trajectory is tightly controlled, and they don't miss as long as the systems are working.


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