SNC selects ULA to launch first two Dream Chaser missions


Sierra Nevada (SNC) has chosen United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Atlas V rocket to launch the first two missions of its Dream Chaser spacecraft.

The first mission of the newly awarded deal will be carried out as part of Nasa’s Cargo Resupply Services 2 (CRS2) contract for the International Space Station (ISS).

Scheduled to place in 2020, the launch of the mission will be carried out from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, in Florida, US.

The second mission of the contract is expected to lift off in 2021.

Under the mission, Dream Chaser will be launched aboard an Atlas V 552 rocket, with a dual-engine Centaur upper stage.

In both missions, the rocket will carry pressurised and unpressurised cargo to the ISS.

Sierra Nevada Space Systems business area corporate vice-president Mark Sirangelo said: “SNC recognises the proven reliability of the Atlas V rocket and its availability and schedule performance makes it the right choice for the first two flights of the Dream Chaser.

"SNC recognises the proven reliability of the Atlas V rocket and its availability and schedule performance makes it the right choice for the first two flights of the Dream Chaser."

“ULA is an important player in the market and we appreciate their history and continued contributions to space flights and are pleased to support the aerospace community in Colorado and Alabama.”

SNC has been developing its Dream Chaser spacecraft for more than ten years, which include six years as part of Nasa’s commercial crew programme.

Last year, Nasa selected Dream Chaser spacecraft to transport cargo to and from the ISS with return and disposal services.

The spacecraft has been developed to transport more than 5,500kg of cargo to the ISS in each mission.


Image: Rendering of an ULA Atlas V rocket in space. Photo: courtesy of ULA.