Space

August 14, 2013

SNC’s Dream Chaser rolls through ground tests

The Sierra Nevada Corporation Dream Chaser flight vehicle is readied for 60 mph tow tests at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center Aug. 2.

 
Hours before the heat rose in the Mojave Desert of Southern California on Aug. 2 the Dream Chaser rolled out of a hangar at dawn as teams prepared to pull the flight vehicle through a series of 60 mph ground tow tests.

These tests were the fourth of incremental range and taxi tow tests that Sierra Nevada Corporation performed to prove the spacecraft’s braking and landing systems could handle upcoming captive-carry and approach-and-landing tests at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center.

The tests were performed in preparation for pre-negotiated, paid-for-performance flight milestones with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which is facilitating the development of American-made spacecraft and rocket combinations that can launch from U.S. soil.

“The dedicated Dream Chaser team has been putting the test spacecraft through comprehensive integrated testing on the runway, ramps and hangar of the historic California site, finding issues on the ground and addressing them in preparation for upcoming free flights,” said Cheryl McPhillips, NASA Partner Manager working with SNC during the agency’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capability initiative.

SNC engineers performed sequential low- and high-speed ground tow tests throughout the course of two months. A pickup truck pulled the flight vehicle across Dryden’s concrete runways at 10, 20, 40 and 60 mph to verify the integrity of spacecraft’s performance under landing and rollout conditions. Through a reimbursable Space Act Agreement with the center, the company is utilizing Dryden’s unique testing facilities and experienced flight-test personnel to prove the system is safe.
 

Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser flight vehicle is pulled out of a hangar at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at dawn in preparation for range and taxi tow testing Aug. 2.

 
“We are happy to contribute our flight research and testing expertise to this project,” said NASA Dryden center director David McBride. “Dryden has a rich history of testing advances in aerospace technology from the early lifting body aircraft, through the shuttle program and now the next generation of manned spacecraft.”

The Dream Chaser flight vehicle verifications included flight computer and flight software, instrumentation, guidance, navigation and control, braking and steering performance, flight control surface actuation, mission control and remote commanding capability, and landing gear dynamics.

“We are very excited to complete this series of tests and achieve another critical milestone for our Dream Chaser flight test program,” said Steve Lindsey, senior director of programs for SNC’s Space Systems and former NASA astronaut. “Watching Dream Chaser undergo tow testing on the same runway where we landed several space shuttle orbiters brings a great amount of pride to our Dream Chaser team.”

SNC is one of three companies funded under CCiCap to develop a next-generation integrated crew transportation system. The flight testing at Dryden is part of the company’s ongoing development work in support of its CCiCap and Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) agreement with the agency.

“I look forward to seeing this bird land on the old shuttle runway this fall,” said McPhillips. “SNC and our other partners are working diligently to enable this country to safely fly crew from and back to the United States.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4oQW_a7XkA&feature=player_embedded

 

A pickup truck pulls the Sierra Nevada Corporation Dream Chaser flight vehicle through range and taxi tow testing Aug. 2.

 

Sierra Nevada Corporation engineers monitor Dream Chaser flight vehicle systems during a 60 mph tow test at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif, on Aug. 2.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Image courtesy of NASA/CXC/M. Weiss

NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory finds planet that makes star act deceptively old

Image courtesy of NASA/CXC/M. Weiss A new study from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory shows that a giant exoplanet, WASP-18b, is making the star that it orbits very closely act much older than it actually is. This artist&...
 
 
NASA photographs by Tom Tschida

NASA Shuttle Carrier Aircraft 911 moves to final home

NASA photographs by Tom Tschida NASA 911, one of two retired Shuttle Carrier Aircraft that ferried NASA’s space shuttles across the country for three decades, is towed from NASA Armstrong’s Bldg. 703 on its final journey to...
 
 
Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover arrives at Martian mountain

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has reached the Red Planet’s Mount Sharp, a Mount-Rainier-size mountain at the center of the vast Gale Crater and the rover mission’s long-term prime destination. “Curiosity n...
 

 

NASA announces 2014 aeronautics scholarship recipients

NASA has selected 20 students from across the nation to receive the agency’s Aeronautics Scholarship for the 2014-2015 school year. This scholarship program, which is in its seventh year, is designed to assist undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in fields of study related to aeronautics. Recipients were selected from hundreds of applications to the program....
 
 
NASA photograph by Dan Casper

NASA’s Orion spacecraft nears completion, ready for fueling

NASA photograph by Dan Casper The Orion crew module, stacked atop its service module, moved out of the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sept 11. Orion was transporte...
 
 

NASA awards cross-track infrared sounder instrument for the JPSS-2

NASA has awarded a sole source contract modification to Exelis, Inc., Geospatial Systems, of Fort Wayne, Ind., for the Cross-track Infrared Sounder Instrument for flight on the Joint Polar Satellite System-2 mission. This is a cost-plus-award-fee modification in the amount of $221 million. This action extends the period of performance of the contract from November...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>