NASA Aims For 2020 Dream Chaser Launch

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NASA has approved a mission using Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser spacecraft, in late 2020, the company announced on Wednesday. The mission will carry 6 tons of supplies to the International Space Station. “The Dream Chaser is going to be a tremendous help to the critical science and research happening on the space station,” Mark Sirangelo, an executive with Sierra Nevada Corp., said in a news release. “Receiving NASA’s Authority to Proceed is a big step for the program. We can’t wait to see the vehicle return to Kennedy Space Center to a runway landing, allowing immediate access to the science payloads being returned from the station.”

The autonomous spacecraft is able to attach itself to the space station and remain there for extended periods, Sierra Nevada said, giving the crew plenty of time to transfer cargo and perform laboratory duties. An onboard lab can support space experiments while en route. The spacecraft will return to a runway landing at NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida. SpaceX and Orbital ATK also have been providing resupply missions to the ISS. SpaceX is expected to start flying NASA astronauts to the ISS later this year, NASA has said.

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