Author Topic: SNC Dream Chaser DISCUSSION Thread  (Read 499182 times)

Online Chris Bergin

SNC Dream Chaser DISCUSSION Thread
« on: 07/12/2012 04:39 PM »
DISCUSSION thread for SNC's Dream Chaser as it progresses to the end of CCDev-2.

Articles - in order:

Banking on Dream Chaser:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2005/11/spacedev-banking-on-dream-chaser/

Dream Chaser agreement with ULA Atlas V:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2007/04/spacedev-announce-dream-chaser-agreement-with-ula-atlas-v/

Dream Chaser Progress Milestones:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/08/nasa-ccdev-2-partners-reveals-progress-milestones/

Dream Chaser making impressive progress ahead of CCDev-3:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/01/dream-chaser-impressive-progress-ahead-ccdev-3/

SNC Captive Carry test sees Dream Chaser take flight:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/05/snc-captive-carry-test-dream-chaser-take-flight/

Dream Chaser passes PDR, heads towards integrated system testing:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/06/dream-chaser-passes-pdr-integrated-system-testing/

SNC outline Dream Chaser’s Enterprise-style landing test approach:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/06/snc-dream-chasers-enterprise-test-approach/

Sierra Nevada’s 5-year partnership with NASA – Progress on Dream Chaser:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/06/sierra-nevadas-5-year-partnership-nasa-progress-dream-chaser/

Dream Chaser Nose Landing Gear Skid System ready for landing tests:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/07/dream-chaser-nlg-skid-system-landing-tests/

Forum Threads:

Article Specific Threads in the Commercial Crew Forum Section:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?board=56.0

New SNC Dream Chaser UPDATE Thread:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=29416.0

L2:

Major L2 Master Thread for SNC Dream Chaser (Photos, Graphics, Videos, Updates):
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=27834.0


Offline demorcef

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Re: SNC Dream Chaser DISCUSSION Thread
« Reply #1 on: 07/12/2012 04:42 PM »
I really hope this thing actually flies in the near future. It sounds like SNC is making fantastic progress so far. Dyna Soar reborn!

Offline Lars_J

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Re: SNC Dream Chaser DISCUSSION Thread
« Reply #2 on: 07/12/2012 04:46 PM »
I've always been a bit skeptical about DC, but the recent progress has been encouraging.

I think the sight of DC doing actual free flying landing tests will garner significant attention. A lot. I look forward to seeing it as soon as possible.

Offline Disco747

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Re: SNC Dream Chaser DISCUSSION Thread
« Reply #3 on: 07/12/2012 07:03 PM »
I'm delighted to see that Dream Chaser is making progress; at least there's a spaceplane successor to the Shuttles as well as the new capsules.

I do have a few minor reservations about Dream Chaser's skid strip nose gear though; how does a pilot steer Dream Chaser after touchdown, for example to compensate for a crosswind or a flat tyre on the main gear?

I'm not sure what material the skid strip would be made from, but wouldn't a solid piece of whatever material is used suffer too much friction scraping against the runway and possibly be damaged? Will the skid strip be replaced after every landing like the Shuttle Orbiter's tyres or not?

Also, how would Dream Chaser be moved to the hangar/OPF after landing; would it be towed like the Shuttle Orbiter, but with the skid strip scraping on the ground, towed on its main gear only with the skid strip raised off the ground somehow, or loaded onto a wheeled transporter similar to the one used to roll the Shuttle Orbiters over to the VAB for stacking?

???
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Offline Rocket Science

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Re: SNC Dream Chaser DISCUSSION Thread
« Reply #4 on: 07/12/2012 07:15 PM »
I'm delighted to see that Dream Chaser is making progress; at least there's a spaceplane successor to the Shuttles as well as the new capsules.

I do have a few minor reservations about Dream Chaser's skid strip nose gear though; how does a pilot steer Dream Chaser after touchdown, for example to compensate for a crosswind or a flat tyre on the main gear?

I'm not sure what material the skid strip would be made from, but wouldn't a solid piece of whatever material is used suffer too much friction scraping against the runway and possibly be damaged? Will the skid strip be replaced after every landing like the Shuttle Orbiter's tyres or not?

Also, how would Dream Chaser be moved to the hangar/OPF after landing; would it be towed like the Shuttle Orbiter, but with the skid strip scraping on the ground, towed on its main gear only with the skid strip raised off the ground somehow, or loaded onto a wheeled transporter similar to the one used to roll the Shuttle Orbiters over to the VAB for stacking?

???
Differential braking and a nose gear dolly...
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Offline zerm

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Re: SNC Dream Chaser DISCUSSION Thread
« Reply #5 on: 07/12/2012 11:32 PM »
The skid does about the same for a pilot as any nosewheel in the initial portion of the landing of a high performance aircraft- i.e. stay straight and don't shimmy. That is all you want it to do- period.

So far a a cross wind, the best way to handle it is to simply avoid it as much as you can. in other words do not crab well (see Milt Thompson's "Flying Without Wings" and Dale Reed's "Wingless Flight"). Thus, in short, you select landing times and sites where the crosswind is a very low factor.

So far as a "blown tire" you do what any pilot would do- hope not. No matter if you had a skid or a nosewheel, in the case of a blown main, it would make very little differance in the outcome IMO. In fact the skid would likely have greater surface to runway friction and thus would likely help slghtly more as far as stability in the landing roll is concerned. Things that normally blow tires are almost nonexistant in the environment that a spacecraft would be operational in, however (FOD heavy wear from repeated cycles -(because new tires are cheap) and so on).
« Last Edit: 07/12/2012 11:36 PM by zerm »

Offline Star One

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Re: SNC Dream Chaser DISCUSSION Thread
« Reply #6 on: 07/13/2012 06:57 PM »
The skid does about the same for a pilot as any nosewheel in the initial portion of the landing of a high performance aircraft- i.e. stay straight and don't shimmy. That is all you want it to do- period.

So far a a cross wind, the best way to handle it is to simply avoid it as much as you can. in other words do not crab well (see Milt Thompson's "Flying Without Wings" and Dale Reed's "Wingless Flight"). Thus, in short, you select landing times and sites where the crosswind is a very low factor.

So far as a "blown tire" you do what any pilot would do- hope not. No matter if you had a skid or a nosewheel, in the case of a blown main, it would make very little differance in the outcome IMO. In fact the skid would likely have greater surface to runway friction and thus would likely help slghtly more as far as stability in the landing roll is concerned. Things that normally blow tires are almost nonexistant in the environment that a spacecraft would be operational in, however (FOD heavy wear from repeated cycles -(because new tires are cheap) and so on).

Was this part of the reasoning why they went for a skid in that position rather than a wheel, or is there more to it than that?

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: SNC Dream Chaser DISCUSSION Thread
« Reply #7 on: 07/13/2012 10:49 PM »
Mounts soapbox…

Well we’re hearing talk of Dream Chaser might not make the cut. So why don't they offer the service/vehicle to ESA? DC is launch vehicle agnostic so why not Ariane V or Soyuz. This bird deserves to fly, if the powers that be in the U.S. don’t appreciate it then offer it up internationally. She has waited 20 plus years from her first iteration, long enough I think…

Steps off…

« Last Edit: 07/14/2012 12:05 AM by Rocket Science »
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Offline Lee Jay

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Re: SNC Dream Chaser DISCUSSION Thread
« Reply #8 on: 07/13/2012 11:25 PM »
I'm delighted to see that Dream Chaser is making progress; at least there's a spaceplane successor to the Shuttles as well as the new capsules.

I do have a few minor reservations about Dream Chaser's skid strip nose gear though; how does a pilot steer Dream Chaser after touchdown, for example to compensate for a crosswind or a flat tyre on the main gear?

I'm not sure what material the skid strip would be made from, but wouldn't a solid piece of whatever material is used suffer too much friction scraping against the runway and possibly be damaged? Will the skid strip be replaced after every landing like the Shuttle Orbiter's tyres or not?

Also, how would Dream Chaser be moved to the hangar/OPF after landing; would it be towed like the Shuttle Orbiter, but with the skid strip scraping on the ground, towed on its main gear only with the skid strip raised off the ground somehow, or loaded onto a wheeled transporter similar to the one used to roll the Shuttle Orbiters over to the VAB for stacking?

 ???
Differential braking and a nose gear dolly...

And the aero surfaces while it's still at high enough speed.

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: SNC Dream Chaser DISCUSSION Thread
« Reply #9 on: 07/13/2012 11:32 PM »
Mounts soapbox…

Well we’re hearing talk of Dream Chaser might not make the cut. So why do they offer the service to ESA?

Not sure you phrased that second sentence the way you meant to do.

Quote
DC is launch vehicle agnostic so why not Ariane V or Soyuz. This bird deserves to fly, if the powers that be in the U.S. don’t appreciate it then offer it up internationally. She has waited 20 plus years from her first iteration, long enough I think…

ITAR.
Hey Jorge,

What I'm thinking is along the lines that we had with the X-38/CRV and ESA if it had come to be. If that was flying today how would ITAR affect it?

~Robert
(Thanks Jorge fixed that, little frustrated I guess...)

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=353
http://www.esa.int/esaHS/ESARZS0VMOC_iss_0.html
http://www.theconquestofspace.com/2011/03/saga-of-x-38.html
« Last Edit: 07/14/2012 12:47 AM by Rocket Science »
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Offline Prober

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Re: SNC Dream Chaser DISCUSSION Thread
« Reply #10 on: 07/14/2012 12:17 AM »
Mounts soapbox…

Well we’re hearing talk of Dream Chaser might not make the cut. So why don't they offer the service/vehicle to ESA?


We are?   goes to double check L2
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Offline Rocket Science

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Re: SNC Dream Chaser DISCUSSION Thread
« Reply #11 on: 07/14/2012 12:24 AM »
Mounts soapbox…

Well we’re hearing talk of Dream Chaser might not make the cut. So why don't they offer the service/vehicle to ESA?


We are?   goes to double check L2
Saw some talk on other threads today...
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Offline zerm

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Re: SNC Dream Chaser DISCUSSION Thread
« Reply #12 on: 07/14/2012 01:49 AM »
The skid does about the same for a pilot as any nosewheel in the initial portion of the landing of a high performance aircraft- i.e. stay straight and don't shimmy. That is all you want it to do- period.

So far a a cross wind, the best way to handle it is to simply avoid it as much as you can. in other words do not crab well (see Milt Thompson's "Flying Without Wings" and Dale Reed's "Wingless Flight"). Thus, in short, you select landing times and sites where the crosswind is a very low factor.

So far as a "blown tire" you do what any pilot would do- hope not. No matter if you had a skid or a nosewheel, in the case of a blown main, it would make very little differance in the outcome IMO. In fact the skid would likely have greater surface to runway friction and thus would likely help slghtly more as far as stability in the landing roll is concerned. Things that normally blow tires are almost nonexistant in the environment that a spacecraft would be operational in, however (FOD heavy wear from repeated cycles -(because new tires are cheap) and so on).

Was this part of the reasoning why they went for a skid in that position rather than a wheel, or is there more to it than that?

Could not say what their reasoning is- all I'm saying is that under the circumstances in question, the skid is just as effictive.

Also; Keep in mind that most "blown tires" that I've seen (as both a pilot and a mechanic) were caused by FOD picked up on the takeoff roll and not the landing roll. The exceptions being emergency landings, locked brakes, anti-skid malfunctions combined with unusually heavy braking and so on. Tires used on vehicles such as DC are not what most people would consider to be "tires" such as those you use on your car or even on an airliner. I'm sure they will be engineered to easily be able to take the stress on the very few landings that each will be subjected to. The skid will be just fine IMO.

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: SNC Dream Chaser DISCUSSION Thread
« Reply #13 on: 07/14/2012 10:17 AM »
Mounts soapbox…

Well we’re hearing talk of Dream Chaser might not make the cut. So why do they offer the service to ESA?

Not sure you phrased that second sentence the way you meant to do.

Quote
DC is launch vehicle agnostic so why not Ariane V or Soyuz. This bird deserves to fly, if the powers that be in the U.S. don’t appreciate it then offer it up internationally. She has waited 20 plus years from her first iteration, long enough I think…

ITAR.
Hey Jorge,

What I'm thinking is along the lines that we had with the X-38/CRV and ESA if it had come to be. If that was flying today how would ITAR affect it?

~Robert
(Thanks Jorge fixed that, little frustrated I guess...)

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=353
http://www.esa.int/esaHS/ESARZS0VMOC_iss_0.html
http://www.theconquestofspace.com/2011/03/saga-of-x-38.html

A couple of things I observed as ITAR was implemented at NASA:

1) Although the relevant laws were passed in the late 1990s, the law required the State Department to write a bunch of regulations to actually implement it. This "trickled down" to NASA over the following decade. The effects this would have had on any plans to fly X-38/CRV on Ariane did not become evident prior to X-38 cancellation.

2) The law treats transfers by private companies markedly differently than transfers by the US government itself.

#2 manifested itself in the ISS program in some pretty perverse ways, such as contractor employees not being allowed to make certain presentations when ISS international partners were in the room, but if the presentation were handed to a NASA civil servant and he presented it, that was no problem. And that was indeed the short-term workaround, followed by a mid-term workaround of actually rebadging some contractors as civil servants, and a long-term solution of NASA obtaining a "generic" export license allowing contractors to interact with ISS IPs.

(The very fact that NASA was willing to consider hiring away contractor personnel as the *mid* term solution should be a clue as to just how much of a pain in the ass it was for NASA to get that generic license.)

So my take on it is that flying X-38 on Ariane, had it survived, would have had to deal with a period of awkward transition to deal with ITAR, much like the ISS program did. And second, that Sierra Nevada would have a considerably tougher time getting the required export licenses than the ISS program did. They would need to do their own cost-benefit analysis to determine if it's worthwhile for them.
Thank you Jorge for the very insightful answers.  :) I can appreciate the need for arms controls especially what has happened in the past, but the very fact that we export fighter planes and other weapons systems to our allies even today is interesting (many of them are ISS partners). Also as you know ILS also flys U.S. spacecraft on foreign launchers as well on a regular basis.
 
If thing do go badly for SNC in this competition at least they may have an option with this route. I know ESA got burned with the X-38/CRV project and may be a bit gun shy to repeat it again. Perhaps JAXA might be interested as well on their launchers.
 
So it might be challenging for this to happen, but not impossible for the ISS partners to have greater autonomy as they have wished for in the past with their own vehicle.

As always it is going to boil down to time and money to pursue it like you said.

Regards
Robert
« Last Edit: 07/14/2012 10:59 AM by Rocket Science »
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Offline Jim

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Re: SNC Dream Chaser DISCUSSION Thread
« Reply #14 on: 07/14/2012 12:27 PM »

Thank you Jorge for the very insightful answers.  :) I can appreciate the need for arms controls especially what has happened in the past, but the very fact that we export fighter planes and other weapons systems to our allies even today is interesting (many of them are ISS partners). Also as you know ILS also flys U.S. spacecraft on foreign launchers as well on a regular basis.
 
If thing do go badly for SNC in this competition at least they may have an option with this route. I know ESA got burned with the X-38/CRV project and may be a bit gun shy to repeat it again. Perhaps JAXA might be interested as well on their launchers.
 
So it might be challenging for this to happen, but not impossible for the ISS partners to have greater autonomy as they have wished for in the past with their own vehicle.


Not true.  Fighters are not launch vehicles and aren't controlled the same way.  Same goes for integrating spacecraft onto launch vehicles, not the same thing as giving them the hardware.

No, SNC doesn't really have the options as you describe.

They only can sell rides and not the vehicle

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: SNC Dream Chaser DISCUSSION Thread
« Reply #15 on: 07/14/2012 12:55 PM »

Thank you Jorge for the very insightful answers.  :) I can appreciate the need for arms controls especially what has happened in the past, but the very fact that we export fighter planes and other weapons systems to our allies even today is interesting (many of them are ISS partners). Also as you know ILS also flys U.S. spacecraft on foreign launchers as well on a regular basis.
 
If thing do go badly for SNC in this competition at least they may have an option with this route. I know ESA got burned with the X-38/CRV project and may be a bit gun shy to repeat it again. Perhaps JAXA might be interested as well on their launchers.
 
So it might be challenging for this to happen, but not impossible for the ISS partners to have greater autonomy as they have wished for in the past with their own vehicle.


Not true.  Fighters are not launch vehicles and aren't controlled the same way.  Same goes for integrating spacecraft onto launch vehicles, not the same thing as giving them the hardware.

No, SNC doesn't really have the options as you describe.

They only can sell rides and not the vehicle
Fair enough Jim. They still are sensitive technologies. I guess we'll have to see it play out...

Regards
Robert
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Offline Disco747

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Re: SNC Dream Chaser DISCUSSION Thread
« Reply #16 on: 07/15/2012 05:19 PM »
The skid does about the same for a pilot as any nosewheel in the initial portion of the landing of a high performance aircraft- i.e. stay straight and don't shimmy. That is all you want it to do- period.

So far a a cross wind, the best way to handle it is to simply avoid it as much as you can. in other words do not crab well (see Milt Thompson's "Flying Without Wings" and Dale Reed's "Wingless Flight"). Thus, in short, you select landing times and sites where the crosswind is a very low factor.

So far as a "blown tire" you do what any pilot would do- hope not. No matter if you had a skid or a nosewheel, in the case of a blown main, it would make very little differance in the outcome IMO. In fact the skid would likely have greater surface to runway friction and thus would likely help slghtly more as far as stability in the landing roll is concerned. Things that normally blow tires are almost nonexistant in the environment that a spacecraft would be operational in, however (FOD heavy wear from repeated cycles -(because new tires are cheap) and so on).

I'm used to thinking in terms of the Shuttle Orbiter with its wheeled nose gear, and how the Orbiter originally used Edwards AFB as its primary landing site because of the extra room there in case of steering problems after touchdown; later, after the Orbiter was fitted with fully functional nosewheel and improved brakes, the SLF at KSC became the primary landing site.

I know that Dream Chaser is much smaller and lighter than the Orbiter; so even if the skid is safer than a wheeled nose gear for Dream Chaser, I suspect that it wouldn't have worked on the Orbiter, because of the Orbiter's extra size and weight.
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Offline Star One

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Re: SNC Dream Chaser DISCUSSION Thread
« Reply #17 on: 07/16/2012 01:24 PM »
The skid does about the same for a pilot as any nosewheel in the initial portion of the landing of a high performance aircraft- i.e. stay straight and don't shimmy. That is all you want it to do- period.

So far a a cross wind, the best way to handle it is to simply avoid it as much as you can. in other words do not crab well (see Milt Thompson's "Flying Without Wings" and Dale Reed's "Wingless Flight"). Thus, in short, you select landing times and sites where the crosswind is a very low factor.

So far as a "blown tire" you do what any pilot would do- hope not. No matter if you had a skid or a nosewheel, in the case of a blown main, it would make very little differance in the outcome IMO. In fact the skid would likely have greater surface to runway friction and thus would likely help slghtly more as far as stability in the landing roll is concerned. Things that normally blow tires are almost nonexistant in the environment that a spacecraft would be operational in, however (FOD heavy wear from repeated cycles -(because new tires are cheap) and so on).

Was this part of the reasoning why they went for a skid in that position rather than a wheel, or is there more to it than that?

Could not say what their reasoning is- all I'm saying is that under the circumstances in question, the skid is just as effictive.

Also; Keep in mind that most "blown tires" that I've seen (as both a pilot and a mechanic) were caused by FOD picked up on the takeoff roll and not the landing roll. The exceptions being emergency landings, locked brakes, anti-skid malfunctions combined with unusually heavy braking and so on. Tires used on vehicles such as DC are not what most people would consider to be "tires" such as those you use on your car or even on an airliner. I'm sure they will be engineered to easily be able to take the stress on the very few landings that each will be subjected to. The skid will be just fine IMO.

Thanks for that just interested me as to why they had gone that route, but it sounds like in the circumstances either is as good as the other.

Offline Lobo

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Re: SNC Dream Chaser DISCUSSION Thread
« Reply #18 on: 07/16/2012 04:44 PM »

Thank you Jorge for the very insightful answers.  :) I can appreciate the need for arms controls especially what has happened in the past, but the very fact that we export fighter planes and other weapons systems to our allies even today is interesting (many of them are ISS partners). Also as you know ILS also flys U.S. spacecraft on foreign launchers as well on a regular basis.
 
If thing do go badly for SNC in this competition at least they may have an option with this route. I know ESA got burned with the X-38/CRV project and may be a bit gun shy to repeat it again. Perhaps JAXA might be interested as well on their launchers.
 
So it might be challenging for this to happen, but not impossible for the ISS partners to have greater autonomy as they have wished for in the past with their own vehicle.


Not true.  Fighters are not launch vehicles and aren't controlled the same way.  Same goes for integrating spacecraft onto launch vehicles, not the same thing as giving them the hardware.

No, SNC doesn't really have the options as you describe.

They only can sell rides and not the vehicle
Fair enough Jim. They still are sensitive technologies. I guess we'll have to see it play out...

Regards
Robert

So if I understand correctly, they could sell rides to ESA or JAXA, although it might be pretty expensive per seat if those seats are funding the entire launch, as well as the final development of Dreamchaser (if they were to be down selected). 

Additionally, I think ESA and JAXA have been getting rides from NASA as part of their contributions to the ISS, before the Shuttle was retired.  Once NASA has two or 2.5 commercial carriers funded and flying, wouldn’t that partnership agreement continue?  Aren’t the JAXA and ESA modules, along with HTV and ATV serives sort of in return for crew services by NASA?  I’m not sure how all of that works, but just saying that once NASA has commercial crew providers selected and flying, JAXA and ESA will probably get cheaper seats on those than by contracting their own crew launch provider in SNC.  Especially since DC sounds like it couldn’t be sold to them to launch on their own LV’s.  It’d have to launch from Canaveral on Atlas V.

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Re: SNC Dream Chaser DISCUSSION Thread
« Reply #19 on: 07/16/2012 06:52 PM »
Would it possible to drop launch the DC from an aircraft at some point down the line?

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