Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser Spaceplane
Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser is about 30 feet (9 meters) long and can carry up to 12,125 lbs. (5,500 kilograms) of cargo up to the International Space Station. The spacecraft has a wingspan of roughly 23 feet (7 meters). Dream Chaser’s design is based on the HL-20, a 1980s NASA design that, interestingly, was based on the Soviet BOR-4. The company has described the initial structural framework as one of the most complex all-composite structures ever built in the aerospace industry, “serving as the fuselage of the vehicle and the structure around which the rest of the vehicle will be assembled.”
“With the help of our Shooting Star transfer vehicle, Dream Chaser can deliver up to 5,500 kg of pressurized and unpressurized cargo to the space station, including food, water, supplies and science experiments and returns to Earth with a gentle runway landing.” The first operational flight of Dream Chaser is now scheduled for some time in 2022. Watch an extended free flight test here.