The Dream Chaser spacecraft is owned and operated by SNC. Although design, manufacturing and assembly is based in Louisville, Colorado, we have assembled a world-class “Dream Team” of aerospace companies, NASA centers, universities and international partners all collaborating to ensure the Dream Chaser is the safest, most reliable spacecraft in the world. We have established cooperative agreements with international space agencies collectively representing almost two dozen spacefaring countries with a heritage of success that includes hundreds of missions. For NASA missions, vehicle refurbishment between flights will be performed at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
About Dream Chaser
Our Dream Chaser® spacecraft has been in development for more than 10 years, including six years as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, and leverages more than 40 years of X-vehicle and NASA space shuttle heritage. We have received funding from NASA as well as made our own significant investments to mature the Dream Chaser vehicle. In 2016, Dream Chaser was selected by NASA under the Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS2) contract to transport pressurized and unpressurized cargo to and from the ISS with return and disposal services.
The advantages of Dream Chaser extend well beyond ISS resupply. The spacecraft affords opportunities for continued advanced developments in the areas of: servicing for future space stations; satellite servicing/deployment and retrieval; orbital debris removal and serving as a test for exploration technologies. We have begun discussions with multiple international agencies regarding the use of Dream Chaser on a global scale, designing Dream Chaser to be a solution for a wide range of missions and clients, bringing global access to space closer than ever.
There are currently two Dream Chaser variants optimized specifically for either uncrewed or crewed missions, known as the Dream Chaser Cargo System and Dream Chaser Space System, respectively. Additional variants may be developed for future mission needs.
Dream Chaser Features
- Lifting-body spacecraft
- Autonomous launch, flight and landing capabilities (does not require a pilot)
- High reusability, 15+ times
- Low 1.5 g atmospheric entry
- Gentle, commercial runway landing compatible with runways worldwide
- Immediate access to crew or cargo upon landing
- All non-toxic consumables, including propellants
Cargo System (Uncrewed)
Dream Chaser® Cargo System (uncrewed) In January 2016, NASA selected our Dream Chaser Cargo System to provide cargo delivery, return and disposal services for the International Space Station (ISS). Under the Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS2) contract, Dream Chaser will provide a minimum of six cargo service missions to and from the ISS between 2019 and 2024.
The Dream Chaser Cargo System is designed to deliver up to 5,500 kg of pressurized and unpressurized cargo to the ISS with the ability to conduct orbital disposal services and responsively return pressurized cargo at less than 1.5 g’s to a gentle runway landing. The vehicle is designed for high reusability, reducing overall cost and providing rapid turnaround for re-flight opportunities. The ability to launch on top of multiple launch vehicles and land at a wide variety of runways makes Dream Chaser a flexible and viable option for reliable transportation.
Dream Chaser Cargo System Specific Features Include:
- Disposable cargo module that attaches to the Dream Chaser vehicle, greatly increasing the amount of upmass pressurized and unpressurized cargo that can be carried
- Ability to do both orbital disposal and pressurized cargo return on every mission
- Innovative folding-wing design allows the uncrewed Dream Chaser spacecraft to fit inside existing standard launch vehicle fairings, making it compatible with a suite of current and future launch vehicles.
- Solar arrays on the cargo module increase flight time in space and support powered payloads
Space System (Crewed)
The Dream Chaser Space System is designed to be optionally piloted and transport up to seven crew members and cargo to LEO destinations with a gentle return to a runway landing. Our Dream Chaser spacecraft is 30 feet, or 9 meters, long which is roughly ¼ the total length of the Space Shuttle orbiters. The spacecraft can carry the same crew size as the Space Shuttle orbiters and can remain docked to the ISS considerably longer.
Dream Chaser Space System Specific Features Include:
- Environmental control, life support system and seating capable of transporting a crew of seven and critical cargo to LEO
- Windows for crew visibility
- Launches without a fairing on top of a human-rated United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with the ability to safely abort to a runway in the event of an emergency
- Integral main propulsion system for abort capability and major orbital maneuvers
The Dream Chaser spacecraft is being designed as a multi-mission space utility vehicle that is able to operate as an independent science platform, logistics enabler or orbital servicing vehicle with the ability to deploy, retrieve, repair, refuel or assemble items in space. To support these missions, Dream Chaser can be customized through vehicle configuration, launch site, destination, landing site, duration and a host of other variables.
Dream Chaser can be customized to suit the mission needs of both domestic and international customers. We have entered into several agreements with multiple international space agencies and organizations. Together we are partnering on the development of technologies, applications and missions for Dream Chaser based space systems that promote the goals of the agency. We aim to engage with in-country government laboratories, commercial companies, and universities to utilize their advancements where possible and design and create flight opportunities to qualify space technologies.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Associated Business Areas & Subsidiaries
|Business Area||Space Systems|