Dream Chaserit is the space plane developed by the company Sierra Space. The device looks like a miniature version of NASA’s space shuttles and thus lands on a runway like an airplane. In preparation for the first flights, Sierra Space has just signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Spaceport America last Tuesday, June 21. This signing means that the Dream Chaser could one day land on the runway at Spaceport America in New Mexico.
According to the information, it is not yet a deal. However, the MOU allows the two entities to align in their “mutual pursuit” of an entry license granted by the FAA or Federal Aviation Administration for the Dream Chaser landings in New Mexico. The FAA has already cleared the spacecraft to land at Huntsville International Airport in Alabama.
Tom Vice, CEO of Sierra Space, indicated that this potential inclusion of Spaceport America among the Dream Chaser landing sites “will continue to enable affordable access to space for all”.
The future missions of the Dream Chaser
Sierra Nevada Corp. is currently preparing for at least 6 unmanned NASA missions to the International Space Station made by the Dream Chaser. The device is known to take off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida aboard rockets United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur.
As for the landing, the space plane will also be able to land on the former NASA runway dedicated to space shuttles, which is located at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Sierra Space is also working to land the Dream Chaser at Oita Airport in Japan and Spaceport Cornwall in the UK.
Change of program for the Dream Chaser
Originally, the Dream Chaser was developed for be able to transport passengers to the ISS. However, NASA decided to select SpaceX and Boeing to perform this task. Thus, the space plane will be satisfied for the moment with the transport of cargo. But Sierra Space may eventually build a passenger-carrying version for other customers.
Currently, NASA supplies the ISS through spacecraft Dragon from SpaceX and Cygnus by Northrop Grumman. The former is able to bring materials and experiments back to Earth while the latter decays in the atmosphere. Like SpaceX’s Dragon ship, the Dream Chaser will be able to bring back material from the ISS.