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Private company revives old NASA shuttle design November 17, 2005

Posted by jtintle in Dream Chaser, HL-20, NASA, Space Fotos, Space News, Space Shuttle, SpaceDev.
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  • NewScientist.com news service
  • Maggie McKee

Dream Chaser will be strapped to one of three large rocket boosters on the launch pad (Artist's impression: SpaceDev)

The craft will be four times smaller and eight times lighter than the shuttle, with room for six crew and passengers (Artist’s impression: SpaceDev) A private company wants to sell NASA trips into orbit on a shuttle-like spaceship that the agency itself designed two decades ago. SpaceDev, an aerospace company based in California, US, has announced plans to build a spacecraft that will carry both tourists and astronauts into orbit. Called Dream Chaser, it is based on a small, plane-like craft called the HL-20 that NASA designed in the 1980s as an alternative to the space shuttle. It cost the space agency $2 billion to develop the design, along with a full scale prototype, but a working HL-20 was never built. NASA has since made details of the HL-20 design publicly available. SpaceDev also has ties with the space agency, helping NASA’s Ames Research Center explore different spacecraft concepts. The company says it could begin flying four-person suborbital flights in 2008 if it receives about $20 million in funding. It could then launch six-person missions to the International Space Station by around 2010 for an additional $100 million, it claims. “We think we have a winner because it’s NASA-designed,” says Jim Benson, founder and CEO of SpaceDev. “They’re familiar with it and the astronauts will like it.”

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Like the shuttle, Dream Chaser will lift off vertically and land horizontally (Artist's impression: SpaceDev)
Enlarge image
Like the shuttle, Dream Chaser will lift off vertically and land horizontally (Artist’s impression: SpaceDev)

The craft will be four times smaller and eight times lighter than the shuttle, with room for six crew and passengers (Artist's impression: SpaceDev)
Enlarge image

Comments

1. Jim Benson - December 4, 2005

Hello,

I just discovered your great site via a Google alert….

I thought you might be interested in some our our space-related graphics at…
http://www.spacedev.com/newsite/templates/subpage_article.php?pid=545

and…

http://www.spacedev.com/newsite/templates/subpage2_article.php?pid=542

Our general web site has other information, graphics, photos, videos and animations that might be of interest to you.

Keep up the good work.

Onward and upward,

Jim Benson
Chairman & CEO


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