Sierra To Wind-tunnel Test Dream Chaser at Marshall

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Sierra Nevada Space Systems will wind-tunnel test its Dream Chaser orbital crew vehicle at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., under a Space Act Agreement NASA announced Dec. 14.

Louisville, Colo.-based Sierra Nevada is developing the winged Dream Chaser vehicle with financial assistance from NASA’s Commercial Crew Development program, which aims to foster development of privately owned spacecraft capable of ferrying astronauts to the international space station.

Under the agreement, Marshall will perform wind-tunnel tests that simulate speeds ranging from Mach 0.2, or about 244 kilometers per hour at sea level, to March 5, or about 6,133 kilometers per hour at sea level. The tests will be conducted in Marshall’s 1.3-square-meter wind tunnel, which is capable of conducting tests at subsonic, transonic and supersonic speeds.

NASA said in a press release that the agreement could lead to joint development, testing and operations of advanced space systems.