Monday, August 19, 2019

ULA chosen for Dream Chaser

Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) selected United Launch Alliance (ULA) as the launch vehicle provider for the Dream Chaser spacecraft's six NASA missions to the International Space Station. The Dream Chaser will launch aboard ULA's Vulcan Centaur rockets for its cargo resupply and return services to the space station, starting in 2021. "SNC selected ULA because of our strong collaboration on the Dream Chaser program, their proven safety record and on-time performance," said SNC CEO Fatih Ozmen. Under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contract, the Dream Chaser will deliver more than 12,000 pounds of pressurized and unpressurized cargo to the space station and remain attached for up to 75 days as an orbiting laboratory. Once the mated mission is complete, the Dream Chaser disposes about 7,000 pounds of space station trash and returns large quantities of critical science, accessible within minutes after a gentle runway landing. "This is one of the first contracts for our new Vulcan Centaur rocket, and the first of the six missions will serve as the rocket's second certification flight," said Tory Bruno, ULA president and CEO. Vulcan Centaur is a new class of space launch vehicle with the performance of a heavy launch vehicle in just a single core. (Source: SpaceDaily, 08/19/19) ULA in 2018 chose Blue Origin's BE-4 engine to power Vulcan. In 2014 ULA announced it was partnering with Blue Origin to partially fund the BE-4 development. Gulf Coast note: BE-4 components have been tested at Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Dream Chaser work has been done at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.