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Nov 11 2014

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Report on the challenges of landing Dream Chaser at a public airport

I stumbled upon this article a day or two back when I was commenting on Dream Chaser’s options.

It’s a 20 page read, so here are the highlights:

  • There is a pretty interesting CONOPS OV-1 diagram on page 3. A couple of details about Dream Chaser’s CONOPS I hadn’t realized:
    • It can last 24 hours without ISS services
    • It can act as a 6 hour safe-haven while docked with ISS.
    • It’s capable of self automated landing.
    • Time-critical cargo can be unloaded within 30 minutes of landing at the primary air strip.
    • Re-entry only generates 1.5 g’s.
  • The Dream Chaser lifting body with a cross range of 1,100 nmi is capable of landing at any qualified runways during an aborted ascent
  • Dream Chaser, because of its skid, cannot taxi itself off the runway when it stops.
  • It descends with a high sink rate and high velocity, which does not fit well with normal Air Traffic Control procedures
  • Airports must ensure that spacecraft operations do not adversely impact aviation operations. Runway loiter times or delays, possibly experienced during Dream Chaser safing procedures and tug operations, may represent a challenge for some aviation operations. For that reason alone, some airports may be undesirable or – in the extreme – incompatible with Dream Chaser operations. These issues must be carefully considered.>

  • Dream Chaser is traveling at Mach 5 at 100,000 ft. Supersonic flight is generally prohibited over land in the US, though wavers can be granted.

Oh, and Happy Veteran’s Day!!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2014/11/11/report-on-the-challenges-of-landing-dream-chaser-at-a-public-airport/

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