LOUISVILLE, Colo. — Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) says it’s ready to proceed into final assembly and testing of its first Dream Chaser cargo spacecraft, as the company retains plans to eventually develop a crewed version of the vehicle.
At a media event at a company facility here, SNC took possession of the primary structure of the first orbital Dream Chaser vehicle. That structure was built for SNC by Lockheed Martin and recently shipped from a Lockheed facility in Fort Worth, Texas, to SNC.
“This is a really, really complex structure,” said Steve Lindsey, SNC senior vice president of space exploration systems. The company described the structure as one of the most complex all-composite structures ever built in the aerospace industry, serving as the fuselage of the vehicle and the structure around which the rest of the vehicle will be assembled.
Lockheed Martin contributed to the construction using both its space and aeronautics expertise, the latter coming from a facility that makes composite structures for the F-35 fighter aircraft. “We took our space knowhow in our Lockheed Martin space business area and integrated that with our aeronautics division and their manufacturing capabilities to bond composites together,” said Lisa Callahan, vice president ...