Shuttle replacement spacecraft’s development, testing and manufacturing video

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has released a new video which summarizes the development, testing and manufacturing of America’s next generation Space Shuttle: the Dream Chaser spacecraft.

U.S. lost the capability to launch NASA’s astronauts into space after the Space Shuttles were retired in 2011. Since then, American astronauts can travel to the International Space Station thanks to Russia’s Soyuz, with expensive tickets that cost U.S. taxpayers some 60 million USD each…

In three years, Washington could be able to restore its autonomous capability, perhaps thanks to the Dream Chaser spacecraft.

The Dream Chaser is actually one of the three commercial spaceflight transportation systems currently being developed with the financial and technical support of NASA (the other two being Boeing CST-100 and SpaceX Dragon).

NASA should select two, or maybe one of these projects to launch men in space.

Dream Chaser’s first flight is set for Nov. 1, 2016, when the mini-Orbiter will launch atop an Atlas V rocket from Kennedy Space Center.

Although its debut flight as a Space Shuttle replacement will be unmanned, the Dream Chaser is designed to carry up to seven astronauts into orbit.

The spacecraft will just spend one day in orbit before starting re-entry procedure and eventually land on an airfield located in the U.S. West Coast.  Then, the first mission featuring some human presence is planned in 2017.

In the meanwhile, testing, further development and some troubleshooting (you may remember the Dream Chaser suffered a landing gear problem and flipped over at the end of its first test flight in October 2013) continue.



Top image credit: SNC


Enhanced by Zemanta
About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Excuse me if this does not look like a great leap forward. It looks like a crew transfer vehicle. Nose wheel steering deemed passe? God I can’t tell you how much I do not like this vehicle. If it looks right it is right..and this looks all kinds of wrong to me. Lawn dart. The great leap forward its not.I know we need this badly but on first look I feel hugely disappointed.
    I want an antigravitic zero inertia flying disk anyway so thats probably colouring my disappointment.

    • I think, the just want it as a transportation to the ISS and for that is good enough.

      But take a look at spaceX. I really like that company and their “dragon”

    • Well if that’s the thing you’re fixated on you’ll have to be disappointed a bit longer, i think. As for it’s looks it’s much closer to the lifting body experiments of the 1960’s:

      These are fine for a crew transfer vehicle and will better reflect the refurb/reload costs for an aerospace plane. The thing is, will this be a faster way to move crew into space for a transfer station where a OTV can shlep them to a higher orbit where a habitat is located or a construction site for a interplanetary spaceship.

  2. Black space program has more advanced vehicles than this flying for about 25 years now?

    • The X-37B is about as advanced as Dream Chaser will be when it’s all working. Although the X-37 is unmanned, and this will eventually be flown with a crew.

      Incidentally the second X-37B test flight has been up in orbit for over a year now, doing who knows what.

    • So where are they then?Where are our advanced military space stations?
      Where our advanced air transportation systems? Navigation Systems? Moon or Mars Habitats. Nowhere thats where. Bob Bigelow has the Space station and no way to get there or back yet.. What a mixed up world.We are denied the stars by the lack of research and development funding right here on earth. I want to know who the BIG BLACK TRIANGLES belong to?

  3. It has been erroneously reported on the web by CNN and picked up by other online news agencies that this vehicle crashed on landing due to a stuck main gear door. While there were problems with the gear, the vehicle was able to land safely. The story has since disappeared, but I have found no retraction or correction.

Comments are closed.