Author Topic: SNC building test schedule for Dream Chaser – Dryden Drop Tests upcoming  (Read 41949 times)

Offline Elmar Moelzer

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I thought I read that the TPS was easily replacable, since it was part of a lower shell that comes off in 1 piece. All they need to do is build up a supply of flight-ready TPS.

I doubt any vendor will need to re-fly the same vehicle in less than 2 months anyway.


http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/06/sierra-nevadas-5-year-partnership-nasa-progress-dream-chaser/

Quote from: article
But regardless of the nature of Dream Chaser’s landing, Sierra Nevada is currently looking at a two-month turn-around of the vehicle between flights to LEO.

In those two months, large-scale sections of the spaceplane’s Thermal Protection System tiles would be replaced if needed – with whole tiles being replaced (even if just for a scratch) instead of repaired, as was the case with Shuttle.

The problem with this is not the availability of the vehicle but the cost of servicing it. 2 months of work for highly specialized personell means a lot of cost, not to mention the materials for the TPS itself.
This will make it difficult for the DC to compete with the capsules.

Offline john smith 19

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The problem with this is not the availability of the vehicle but the cost of servicing it. 2 months of work for highly specialized personell means a lot of cost, not to mention the materials for the TPS itself.
This will make it difficult for the DC to compete with the capsules.
True. The figures for Shuttle TPS replacement costs were $12 000 m^2 for tiles and $3000 m^2 for blankets, But I'm not sure when those figures in the NASA TPSX database were last updated.

Note1 that SNC could use multi-skilled teams for whom tile testing/replacement was just one task they dealt with.

Note2 Carnegie Mellon outlined a plan to do robotic inspections of the Shuttle. With a clean sheet approach and a desire to design cost out of the support infrastructure from day 1 SNC could do something like that and use its test results to directly drive new tile mfg. Given some ares were consistently damaged on landing for the Shuttle pre-ordering replacements for those would also be a viable strategy to lower turnaround time.
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Offline Chris Bergin

Slight update to the article, I've removed the White Knight 2 graphic showing Dream Chaser as that is now confirmed to be no longer an option.

Offline TomH

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Hopefully thats true, their only shot I would think is to be able to beat SpaceX on cost?  But then the Atlas V is much more expensive than a Falcon 9

They are starting out on AV. I don't believe they've ruled out using F9 as an LV later on.

Offline TomH

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Slight update to the article, I've removed the White Knight 2 graphic showing Dream Chaser as that is now confirmed to be no longer an option.

That's disappointing; that would have been a beautiful air drop (maybe even air launch test using the hybrid engines) to watch. Phooey.  :(

Offline Elmar Moelzer

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Slight update to the article, I've removed the White Knight 2 graphic showing Dream Chaser as that is now confirmed to be no longer an option.
Oh, why is that? Must have missed that.

Offline Lee Jay

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Slight update to the article, I've removed the White Knight 2 graphic showing Dream Chaser as that is now confirmed to be no longer an option.

That's disappointing; that would have been a beautiful air drop (maybe even air launch test using the hybrid engines) to watch. Phooey.  :(

This doesn't mean they aren't going to do this, it just means they aren't going to do it with that particular carrier aircraft.

Offline Lurker Steve

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Slight update to the article, I've removed the White Knight 2 graphic showing Dream Chaser as that is now confirmed to be no longer an option.

That's disappointing; that would have been a beautiful air drop (maybe even air launch test using the hybrid engines) to watch. Phooey.  :(

This doesn't mean they aren't going to do this, it just means they aren't going to do it with that particular carrier aircraft.

What other options do they have ?

Offline yg1968

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Would it be possible to use an Air-Crane helicopter again (as they did for the captive-carry test) or does it have to be an airplane?
« Last Edit: 12/13/2012 06:09 PM by yg1968 »

Offline Lurker Steve

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Can they get up to the altitude / flight speed they want with the Air Crane ?

Does NASA still have a B-52 that can be used as a carrier aircraft, or is the DreamChaser too big to fit under the wing ?

Offline Elmar Moelzer

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Would it be possible to use an Air-Crane helicopter again (as they did for the captive-carry test) or does it have to be an airplane?
I may be wrong, but there may be the need for more speed and altitude than this helicopter can provide.

Offline nlec

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Can they get up to the altitude / flight speed they want with the Air Crane ?

Does NASA still have a B-52 that can be used as a carrier aircraft, or is the DreamChaser too big to fit under the wing ?

I'm thinking, is it too late to bring the last SCA out of retirement to carry Dream Chaser? It looks like there is some precedent with Phantom Ray.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Shuttle_Carrier_Aircraft_-_Silhouettes.jpg
« Last Edit: 12/13/2012 07:02 PM by nlec »

Offline Jim

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I'm thinking, is it too late to bring the last SCA out of retirement to carry Dream Chaser? It looks like there is some precedent with Phantom Ray.


It was only used to transport the Phantom Ray, it wasn't dropped.

Offline BrightLight

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Using a flying B-52 might still be possible such as the plane that flew the X-51 (B-52, tail number 050), a pylon "extension" would probably be needed and one was built for the X-38. I don't know if that extension still exists as the aircraft it was used on was retired (Tail number 008). If that extension is available and SNC was able to use and modify it, then a B-52, in theory, can be used for the drop tests.

Offline Lars_J

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Won't DC be on the heavy side to be carried out on the wing by a B-52? Without the WK2, what good options are there for a (relatively) high speed drop tests?
« Last Edit: 12/13/2012 10:59 PM by Lars_J »

Online Ronsmytheiii

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Using a flying B-52 might still be possible such as the plane that flew the X-51 (B-52, tail number 050), a pylon "extension" would probably be needed and one was built for the X-38. I don't know if that extension still exists as the aircraft it was used on was retired (Tail number 008). If that extension is available and SNC was able to use and modify it, then a B-52, in theory, can be used for the drop tests.

NASA no longer has a b-52, and I doubt the AF would agree to let a strategic asset be taken out of service for a commercial company.

Maybe Stargazer could be modified?
« Last Edit: 12/13/2012 11:42 PM by Ronsmytheiii »

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Gliders are frequently towed.  If the Dream Chaser can take off on its wheels then a fast, high flying aircraft may be able to get it into the air.

Offline Elmar Moelzer

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Can anyone tell me why the WK is no longer an option for the DC drop tests? I must have missed that part.

Offline Silmfeanor

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Can anyone tell me why the WK is no longer an option for the DC drop tests? I must have missed that part.

It's on L2 - get it to read it  ;)

Offline vt_hokie

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Gliders are frequently towed.  If the Dream Chaser can take off on its wheels then a fast, high flying aircraft may be able to get it into the air.

Yeah, gonna take more than a Piper Pawnee to tow that glider!

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