Dream Chaser aims to deliver US military cargo in 3 hours
Dream Chaser envisions high-speed expeditions for the military into space.
Sierra Space, which is developing the shuttle-like Dream Chaser spacecraft for cargo deliveries and potential astronaut flights, has signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) Transportation Command for point-to-point space expeditions. ready within three hours.
The Cooperative Research and Early-Stage Development (CRADA) Agreement “provides unique capabilities for accurate, cost-effective, and rapid global delivery of [DOD] logistics and personnel,” Sierra Space officials said in a Statement of September 8 (opens in a new tab).
“The two parties will collaboratively explore space transportation as a new mode of point-to-point global ground delivery of materials and personnel, as an alternative and complement to traditional air, ground and surface modes for… global supplies,” the statement added.
Related: Meet ‘Tenacity’: 1st Dream Chaser spaceplane gets a name
The U.S. military has signed several deals in recent months for future point-to-point transportation needs, including a CRADA with Rocket Lab to use its Electron booster, and a $102 million contract with SpaceX (via U.S. Air Force) for deliveries of rockets, military cargo and humanitarian equipment.
CRADAs allow federal agencies to provide unfunded agreements to private agencies while providing support through facilities, equipment, expertise, and other services. Sierra Space said its deal would allow the company to create logistics delivery to address emerging, high-velocity threats in “contested and changing environments” or to supply areas in need of humanitarian assistance.
The Dream Chaser spacecraft has completed several test flights as Sierra Space targets cargo shipments for NASA (with which it has an agreement for International Space Station resupply missions), as well as other entities.
In images, in pictures: The Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser glide test flight
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The U.S. military has been talking about high-speed space deliveries for at least three years, including overcoming key constraints such as weight, volume and restrictions in launch and recovery operations, according to a U.S. statement. Air Force (USAF) October 2020.
“As the industry moves forward to overcome these challenges and increase its launch tempo to reduce costs, a space-lift capability to quickly get crucial cargo on target at considerable distances makes it an attractive alternative,” the researchers said. USAF officials. (opens in a new tab) at the time.