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Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser Space Cargo Plane to Fly in 2020

Judging by the great number of spaceships and spaceplanes currently being developed in the U.S. and elsewhere, humanity is likely to have more than enough means of transport to our only orbital installation.
SNC Dream Chaser 1 photo
Currently, the International Space Station (ISS) is being supplied by Russian Soyuz ships and SpaceX's Dragon capsule. Next year, the crewed version of the Dragon will be ready, as will Boeing's Starliner and NASA's Orion. All of these will be followed by Blue Origin's New Shepard.

And that's only when talking about rocket-based spaceships. There is another type of machine currently on the drawing table of several private companies, the spaceplane.

The most advanced of these companies when it comes to a viable product is the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), a company that this December passed the design performance validation for its Dream Chaser spaceplane.

This milestone clears the way for SNC to actually start building the aircraft that will become part of NASA’S Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contract.

“We are one step closer to the Dream Chaser spacecraft’s first orbital flight. This comprehensive review approved moving the Dream Chaser program into the production phase so we can get Dream Chaser to market as a critical space station resupply spacecraft as soon as possible,” said in a statement Fatih Ozmen, SNC CEO.

“IR4 was a series of reviews, documentation, and data deliverables that are the culmination of many years of design work, analysis and development testing.”

Dream Chaser is currently being assembled at the SNC’s Space Systems facilities in Louisville, CO. The plane is scheduled to enter service in 2020 and will fly at least six supply missions to the ISS on behalf of NASA.

Dream Chaser will be capable of carrying up to 5,500 kg (12,100 lbs) of pressurized and unpressurized cargo on its way up and come back to Earth with 1,850 kg (4,000lbs) of cargo.

press release

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