[Via Satellite 10-12-2015] Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is preparing two Dream Chaser spacecraft, the atmospheric Engineering Test Article (ETA) and the advanced composite orbital vehicle, for suborbital and orbital flight regimen, respectively. Dream Chaser is a reusable multi-mission space vehicle for manned and unmanned missions to Low-Earth Orbit.
SNC also announced significant progress on the manufacture of Dream Chaser spacecraft. The company made structural and systems improvements to the ETA, including the composite wings and aeroshells, following flight test phase one. SNC also invested heavily in maturing the spacecraft orbital avionics, guidance navigation and control, the flight software, and employed a number of new processes, all of which will be used on the orbital vehicle as well. The advanced orbital Thermal Protection System (TPS), announced in June, was installed on the ETA skid in order to do advanced testing of the actual orbital TPS.
Lockheed Martin also recently completed the Dream Chaser orbital cabin assembly. Dream Chaser ETA is scheduled to begin the second phase of atmospheric flight-testing at Armstrong Flight Research Center in early 2016.
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