[FPSPACE] NASA's choice

Christopher Gorski cpgorski at gmail.com
Wed Sep 17 12:49:29 EDT 2014


Agreed it's a bit sad if that makes it to the dustbin of history, Keith.

Not really sure what's going to happen, though.  It sounded like SNC might
be willing to continue development in an unfunded capacity...  Unlike RpK
they're an existing company with other products and other customers, and
also to their advantage, it looked like Lockheed-Martin had taken an
interest in them succeeding and formed some sort of partnership... which
makes sense if they were proposing a man-rated Atlas V as a booster (it's
hard to find markets for such an expensive launcher, it seems).

But even if this falls apart this time, it may pop up again.  Dream Chaser
was a commercial remake of the NASA concept spaceplane dubbed "HL-20"; I
remember seeing a full-scale mockup of that at NC State around 1990
sometime.

At the time, the "personnel launch system" program never went anywhere; I
think the cost of developing and maintaining a separate human-rated
spacecraft combined with an ongoing lack of space station meant the project
ended up shelved in favor of using that money for some NASA projects with
more obvious ROI.

But if it's really that good an idea, and really not just an expensive
stunt with more liabilities than rewards, maybe it'll turn up again.
Especially since a bunch of the research work has already been done by now.


Cheers,

--Christopher Gorski




On Wed, Sep 17, 2014 at 12:07 PM, Keith Gottschalk <kgottschalk at uwc.ac.za>
wrote:

>  "The agency unveiled its selection of Boeing and SpaceX to transport
> U.S. crews to and from the space station using their CST-100 and Crew
> Dragon spacecraft, respectively"
>
>   So NASA regards Sierra Nevada's Dreamchaser as not advanced enough in
> R&D, & too speculative.   Unless the company has really deep pockets, they
> will be joining Kistler, Kliper & all the other broken dreams?  How many
> years or decades will be the next time returning astronauts will once again
> be landing horizontally on a runway?  & hopefully this time with engines
> running.
>
> - Keith
>
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