Sunday, November 21, 2021

Sierra Space Dream Chaser Spaceplane

With a huge infusion of cash, Sierra Space hopes to get its Dream Chaser spaceplane and space station off the ground

The space world has a little engine that could - a small, snub-nosed space plane called Dream Chaser that looks like it could be the space shuttle's offspring. For years, it has pursued an unlikely path in its quest to space, facing all sorts of obstacles along the way. But it has never given up. Sierra Space, the company that is developing Dream Chaser, lost out on a major NASA contract to use it to fly people in 2014. It appealed, but lost that decision, too. Two years later, it secured a major procurement, this time to fly cargo and supplies to the International Space Station, not humans. It's been five years, and it still hasn't flown to space, despite spending $1 billion on the program. But on Friday, Sierra Space announced it was getting a huge boost that it said would help get Dream Chaser off the ground, a $1.4 billion investment in a Series A funding round that the company says will help it fly astronauts by 2025. The investment marks the first time the Colorado-based company has brought in outside investors, and it comes as it is revamping the company to pursue a number of projects in an attempt to become a major player in the growing commercial space industry. NASA has contracts with SpaceX and Boeing to fly astronauts to the space station. SpaceX has flown several missions so far, but Boeing has faltered and may not have its first flight with crew until late next year. That could provide an opportunity for Dream Chaser to get back in the picture, and company executives have discussed the possibility with NASA. Unlike the SpaceX and Boeing capsules, which land in the sea or in the desert, Dream Chaser would land on a runway and allow scientists to access research flown down from the space station immediately. The additional money "is going to be incredibly important for us to take the opportunity to accelerate our plans," Eren Ozmen, who owns the company with her husband, Fatih Ozmen, said in an interview. The company has said it intends to fly its first cargo resupply missions to the space station by the end of next year. Source

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