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Tue, May 01, 2012

SNC Begins Dream Chaser Flight Test Program

Completes First Captive-Carry Flights Of The Orbital Spacecraft

Sierra Nevada Corporation has begun flight testing of its Dream Chaser Space System with a successful captive carry of a full scale Dream Chaser Flight Vehicle near the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Colorado.  This test marks the completion of the 12th Program Milestone for NASA's Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev) Program and the 16th overall for SNC under NASA Commercial Crew Development Program.

The Dream Chaser Flight Vehicle was carried aloft on May 29th, 2012, and successfully met all the pre-established flight test goals.  This was the first full scale flight test of the Dream Chaser Flight Vehicle, which will continue to conduct flight tests in preparation for an autonomous Approach and Landing Test (ALT) scheduled for later this summer at the Edwards Air Force Base and in conjunction with the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center.

"The successful Captive Carry flight test of the Dream Chaser full scale flight vehicle marks the beginning of SNC's flight test program; a program that culminates in crewed missions to the International Space Station for NASA," said Steve Lindsey.  Lindsey joined SNC in 2011 to run Dream Chaser's flight operations.  His resume includes service as an Air Force test pilot, a five time Space Shuttle Commander and Pilot, and as the Chief of NASA's Astronaut Office.

"This is a very positive success for the Dream Chaser team and their innovative approach. I applaud and encourage the designers and engineers to continue their efforts in meeting the objectives of the rest of their CCDev2 milestones," said Ed Mango, NASA's Commercial Crew Program Manager.

"The success of the Dream Chaser Program is a result of the hard work of an expansive team, which now includes over 12 experienced industrial partners, seven NASA centers, and three universities, all representing more than 25 states.  I would like to thank them, our terrific SNC employees, as well as the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport and Erickson Air-Crane for their contributions to the success of this test.  It is through partnerships like these that Dream Chaser continues on the path to filling the crew transportation capabilities lost with the retirement of the Space Shuttle Program," said Mark Sirangelo, Corporate Vice President and head of SNC's Space Systems.

The Dream Chaser Space System is being developed as part of NASA’s venture into commercially provided crew transport. Captive carrying testing provides SNC an early opportunity to evaluate and prove hardware, facilities and ground operations in preparation for Approach and Landing tests scheduling for later this year. (Images provided by Sierra Nevada Corp)

FMI: www.SNCSpace.com

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