Wing Integration Underway on the Dream Chaser® Spaceplane
December 18, 2020
The wings for the Dream Chaser® spaceplane are officially being integrated on Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) production floor in Louisville, Colorado! The wings arrived earlier in the year, but our engineers and technicians needed the wing assembly jig to arrive in order for the assembly, integration and testing process to begin.
SNC worked closely with engineers at Models and Tools, located in Detroit, Michigan, to design the wing tooling unique for the wing build.
This past November, both wings were placed in their jigs and rotated simultaneously. This was a unique occurrence because it took coordination from both our first and second shift crews. The simultaneous rotation allowed both shifts to see all angles of the wings and go through the step by step instructions they’ll need to follow in order to build the wings out.
The tooling is mission critical, and the rotation of the tooling allows for access and installation of critical components with very tight tolerance to ensure mission success.
More than 65 individual pieces need to be installed to the wings to make them fully functional, and that doesn’t even include the Thermal Protection System tiles, which give the wings their black and white color. The first installation will be the hard points. Those are pieces of hardware that give the engineers and technicians handling points to allow for installation to Dream Chaser.
The wings are expected to be installed to Dream Chaser by summer 2021.