Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser Takes Flight

An artist's conception of the Dream Chaser docked at the International Space Station. Photo source:

The February 1 New York Times published an article about the Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser, one of several private sector projects to succeed the Space Shuttle under NASA's Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program.

"Our view is if we could stop buying from the Russians, if we could make life cheaper for NASA, and if we could build a few vehicles that do other things in low-Earth orbit that are valuable, isn't that, at the end of the day, a good thing?" said Mark N. Sirangelo, the company’s chairman.

The article notes that the CCDev competition is currently in its second round. NASA is to announce in March which winners will receive government funding to proceed with their proposals.

After the second round, NASA would like narrow its choices down to two, maybe three, systems to finance.

"We think this is in effect a one-year race to see who gets the furthest," Mr. Sirangelo said, "and at the end of that, presumably the next two years of the authorization bill gets funded, and then you compete for that pot of money."

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