A familiar looking spaceplane will be seen around the Space Coast in the coming years.
On Wednesday, Sierra Nevada Corporation announced its Dream Chaser "mini-shuttle" will launch on ULA's future Vulcan Centaur rocket for the spacecraft's six cargo resupply missions to the International Space Station.
"SNC selected ULA because of our strong collaboration on the Dream Chaser program, their proven safety record and on-time performance," SNC CEO Faith Ozmen said. "This is bringing America's spaceplane and America's rocket together for best-of-breed innovation and exploration."
Those missions will take off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 41, currently the company's Atlas V pad that is being retrofitted to also handle Vulcan Centaur.
Like the space shuttle, Dream Chaser is designed to launch aboard a rocket and then return to Earth by landing on a runway. This enables the spacecraft to return fragile science experiments from the ISS that wouldn't survive well in a capsule plunging into the ocean. Dream Chaser is 30 feet long, which is roughly a quarter the total length of the shuttle, making it a smaller and more efficient vehicle.
Starting in 2021, Dream Chaser will begin launch from LC-41 and landing nearby at KSC's former Shuttle Landing Facility.
Quelle: Florida Today