Orbital crew vehicle tested in Texas A&M's low-speed wind tunnel

A scale model of the Dream Chaser® orbital crew vehicleSierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Space Systems has successfully completed wind tunnel testing of a scale model of the Dream Chaser® orbital crew vehicle in the Oran W. Nicks Low Speed Wind Tunnel at Texas A&M University.

Aerodynamic data generated from this testing, coupled with data from computer simulations, will define the characteristics of the Dream Chaser® lifting body vehicle during the approach and landing phase of flight. This information will assist engineers in preparing for the Dream Chaser® vehicle’s first free flight test scheduled for the third quarter of this year.

“The Dream Chaser® Program thanks the Texas A&M wind tunnel team for their support of this testing, which produced results that exceeded our expectations,” said Mark Sirangelo, corporate vice president of SNC's Space Systems. "As the only lifting body vehicle currently funded by NASA under the Commercial Crew Development Program, we are thankful for the opportunity to verify our computational data in such an advanced facility. This is an important step in preparing for the vehicle's first free flight."

Dr. Dimitris Lagoudas, head of the Department of Aerospace Engineering, said, "The Department of Aerospace Engineering has been privileged to work with high caliber engineers from Sierra Nevada Corporation Space Systems and to be part of the wind tunnel testing of the scale model of the Dream Chaser®."

The Dream Chaser® team includes several Texas A&M graduates. Dr. Merri Sanchez, senior director of space exploration systems, and John Curry, director of systems integration, test, and operations for the Dream Chaser® both attribute their success in advancing the field of human spaceflight to their experience as students at Texas A&M.

"Texas A&M provided the foundation for us, as students, to excel in careers in aerospace engineering.  We are proud to be working with the University on the Dream Chaser®Program, they are providing critical data that will inform the future of manned spaceflight," said Sanchez and Curry in a joint statement.

For more information on the Dream Chaser® Space System, visit http://www.SNCSpace.com 

About Sierra Nevada Corporation

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is one of America’s fastest growing private companies based on its significant expansion and reputation for rapid, innovative, and agile technology solutions in electronics, aerospace, avionics, space, propulsion, micro-satellite, aircraft, communications systems and solar energy. The company continues to focus its growth on the commercial sector through internal advancements and outside acquisitions, including the emerging markets of renewable energy, telemedicine, nanotechnology, cyber and net-centric operations. For more information on SNC visit www.sncorp.com.

About Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems

Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems business area headquartered in Louisville, Colo., designs and manufactures advanced spacecraft, space vehicles, and spacecraft subsystems for commercial and government customers. Space Systems (SS) has more than 20 years heritage in space, successfully delivering over 400 subsystems for 300+ satellite missions. Current key programs include NASA’s Commercial Crew Development program where we are developing our Dream Chaser® 7 passenger vehicle to take astronauts to the International Space Station; the ORBCOMM Generation 2 program that includes production of 18-48 small satellites for a commercial asset tracking company; the SpaceShip2 program where we are developing a non-toxic “green” rocket engine for Virgin Galactic’s suborbital space vehicle to carry tourists to space; and the Modular Space Vehicle program for the DoD’s Operationally Responsive Space Office. For more information about SS visit www.sncspace.com.