Sierra Space says “safety remains at the heart of Dream Chaser’s mission.” If all goes as planned and the spacecraft finally carries the astronauts, obviously their lives – and those of the ISS crew connecting with the craft – will be very dire. But the company is also committed to protecting its assets, especially since maintaining the integrity of some scientific data is critical to NASA’s ongoing experiments. Similarly, Sierra Space designed the Dream Chaser with “advanced security measures” to protect the aircraft and its contents. In addition, the new design allows the user to re-enter under 1.5 g for better storage of heavy loads.
Sierra Space also hopes that Dream Chaser will make space travel more sustainable. The company says it has spent years developing new accelerators and oxidizers that are more environmentally friendly than their predecessors. The advanced use of the vessel will also greatly contribute to stability, as will the flexibility of the various voyages, reducing the need to build new ships. Being able to land on a commercial flight and have a quick turnaround time before starting its next mission in space, Dream Chaser will mean that the lowest Earth orbit vehicles have to be built.
Dream Chaser’s first mission is expected to launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, and Tenacity will be launched into orbit on United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur rocket. The spacecraft will complete its first return trip by landing at the NASA Space Shuttle Landing Facility.