Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin and Sierra Nevada Corp.’s Mark Sirangelo get an early look at SNC’s Dream Chaser atmospheric test plane. (SNC Photo)
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A year after Blue Origin put its New Shepard rocket booster on public display for the first time, Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ space venture has brought its BE-4 rocket engine here for one of the nation’s premier space conferences.
But this time, Colorado-based Sierra Nevada Corp. is taking up at least as much of the spotlight at the 34th Space Symposium with the prototype for its Dream Chaser mini-space shuttle.
The 30-foot-long Dream Chaser engineering test vehicle executed what’s likely to be its final flight last November, and was trucked from NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California to Colorado Springs for this week’s event.
A space-worthy Dream Chaser is currently under construction. It’s due to fly uncrewed missions to the International Space Station starting in late 2020, under the terms of a cargo resupply contract with NASA.
We’re finishing up assembly of the #SNCDreamChaser spacecraft at @TheBroadmoor in preparation for the #34SS. Can’t wait to show it off! pic.twitter.com/ZKNtvvxYMC
— Sierra Nevada Corporation (@SierraNevCorp) April 13, 2018
“SNC is thrilled to have a venue for people to see firsthand what a remarkable piece of engineering it is,” Eren Ozmen, president and co-owner of Sierra Nevada Corp., said in a news release. “SNC is proud to bring a runway-landing vehicle back to the space landscape.”
The Dream Chaser is designed for vertical launches on a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket or similar vehicles, and for horizontal landings reminiscent of the space shuttle fleet’s touchdowns. The prototype on display in Colorado served a function similar to that of the shuttle Enterprise, which tested …read more