Contrast between smaller Dream Chaser and now scuttled Space Shuttle orbiter.
Credit: SNC

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) in Louisville, Colorado has received the largest piece of technology to make up Dream Chaser.

It’s the most advanced high-temperature composite space frame ever built, according to SNC.

The primary structure is a pressurized composite structure.
Credit: SNC

Reports Eren Ozmen, chairwoman and president of SNC: “Our team has been looking forward to this day for a long time so that we can fully assemble America’s spaceplane in preparation for its first mission for NASA.”

Primary structure

The primary structure is a pressurized composite structure that will contain pressurized payloads heading to the International Space Station.

The structure was manufactured by subcontractor Lockheed Martin and recently shipped from their Fort Worth, Texas facility to Louisville, Colorado, where Dream Chaser is being built and integrated by SNC.

Credit: NASA

Building block

“As the first building block of the spacecraft, it represents the first critical path hardware to be received in Colorado and launch of the assembly, integration and test (AI&T) phase of the program,” said former NASA space shuttle commander, astronaut and retired USAF pilot Steve Lindsey, now senior vice president of strategy for SNC’s Space Systems business area. 

Dream Chaser is scheduled to launch starting in late 2021 for at least six cargo resupply and return services to the International Space Station for NASA under the Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contract. 

Credit: SNC

The Dream Chaser Cargo System can carry up to 12,000 pounds of supplies and other cargo, and can return science experiments to Earth with a mild, wheels-down, runway landing. 

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