Dream Chaser passes Wind Tunnel tests for CCiCap Milestone

June 13, 2014 – 10:00 am

no altAs the US battles to regain its domestic crew launch capability, companies across the nation are making great progress on the vehicles that are in competition to achieve that goal. Monday saw the confirmation Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has passed Milestone 8 in the Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) process, a success that relates to Wind Tunnel testing on their Dream Chaser spacecraft.

Pushing on via CCiCAP:

SpaceX's Dragon during CRS-2, via L2's huge unreleased photo collectionHowever, the United States is deep into domestic crew launch revival, with the Commercial Crew Program (CCP) providing financial and technical support to three highly driven American companies who are competing for the right to launch NASA astronauts from American soil.

SpaceX, with its Dragon spacecraft, are understood to be the big favorites to be the first commercial company to loft NASA astronauts to the ISS on a mission called USCV-1 (US Crew Vehicle -1).

Z6The Dragon recently completed its fourth mission to the orbital outpost, successfully concluding the CRS-3/SpX-3 mission with a safe splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on Sunday.

SpaceX is currently planning to reveal the crewed Dragon – sometimes referenced as the DragonRider, or Dragon 2 – to the public “within weeks”, ahead of its role with abort testing.

Boeing are also in the mix, with their usually media-shy CST-100 spacecraft showing off the interior that astronauts would look forward to ingressing ahead of rides to the Station.

Z7The photos published by Boeing are impressive, with a sci-fi/first class airliner interior that is a far cry from the even the much-loved Space Shuttle orbiters that CST-100 manager Chris Ferguson had the honor of riding inside.

Boeing has also been busy working the paperwork, with another milestone on the evaluation of the spacecraft’s software recently conducted via a CDR.

This review confirmed the computer coding can be used during CST-100’s upcoming flight tests.

SNC has what is arguably the darling of the Commercial Crew Program – at least in the eyes of the space flight fans – with their Dream Chaser spacecraft’s appearance and heritage deeply associated with the since-retired Shuttle orbiters.

From a Program standpoint, her lack of commonality with the two capsule spacecraft she is in competition with provides NASA managers with an interesting set of attractive alternatives to consider, including cross-range, multiple landing options.

Dream Chaser’s advance towards space flight has been keenly monitored, as much as SNC now appear to be closely following the commercial space playbook of providing the media with a heavily controlled drip feed of updates, mainly out of the fear of falling foul to a general media that is more interested in problems than progress.

However, Monday did result in the first update for some time, with the positive update from the vehicle’s Wind Tunnel testing.

Z88 Z6 Z8

Source: www.nasaspaceflight.com

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