Dream Chaser Lifting Body Spaceplane one of Three Competitors Chosen to Resupply the ISS
Last week, NASA selected the winners of the second phase of contracts for cargo resupply missions to the International Space Station.
Unsurprisingly, Orbital ATK and SpaceX were among the winners.
But the third company selected was one that many may not know about -- Sierra Nevada Corporation -- an electronics and systems integrator that entered the space business with its purchase of SpaceDev in 2008.
SNC's entry into the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) program is the Dream Chaser, a lifting body spaceplane that looks like a throwback to the space shuttle era.
But this is not your parent's space shuttle. There are many reasons why NASA selected this spacecraft.
For one, its folding wing design means it can be launched on at least two different launch vehicles (using a five-meter fairing) -- the Atlas V and the Ariane V.
Second, according to SNC, Dream Chaser is capable of delivering both pressurized and unpressurized cargo to the ISS -- exceeding all of NASA’s cargo transportation requirements.
Perhaps even more important than that, though, is that Dream Chaser is capable of providing some of the periodic reboosts to the station’s orbit that are required from time-to-time.
SNC produced this promotional video of the Dream Chaser that gives a great overview of its capabilities.
Take a look. It's pretty cool.