Video: How the Dream Chaser Was Built

by Nancy Atkinson on January 28, 2014

The origins of Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser go back over 50 years to the US Air Force’s and NASA’s research into lifting body concepts and the X-20 Dyna-Soar, so this winged, lifting-body spacecraft is one of the tested and reviewed vehicles ever. This new video about the vehicle provides a summary of the development, testing and manufacturing of the Dream Chaser, which will launch on its first orbital testflight in 2016 as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to provide crew and cargo transportation to the International Space Station.

The Dream Chaser is a classic case of not reinventing the wheel.

“A lot of people told us we needed to get a clear sheet of paper and start all over again,” said Mark Sirangelo, the head of Sierra Nevada Space Systems. “We decided we didn’t want to do that. We wanted to build on something.”

The Dream Chaser — which looks like a mini space shuttle — is the only reusable, lifting-body, human-rated spacecraft capable of landing on a commercial runway. It is about 9 meters long (29.5 feet) with a wingspan of 7 meters (22.9 feet).

The Dream Chaser space plane atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Image Credit: SNC

The Dream Chaser space plane atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Image Credit: SNC

Read more about the history of the Dream Chaser design here or at the Sierra Nevada website.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

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