Bremen, December 5, 2018. OHB System AG, a subsidiary of space and technology group OHB SE, signed a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) for a study to analyse the feasibility and opportunities to use Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Dream Chaser spacecraft as a post-International Space Station (ISS) platform for European missions in low-Earth orbit (LEO). The study has an order value of 350,000 euros and runs for over a year. OHB is leading a consortium consisting of SNC and 4SPACE.
The Dream Chaser spacecraft is under development by SNC. It is a multi-mission space utility vehicle designed for transporting crew and cargo to LEO destinations such as the International Space Station. The Dream Chaser spacecraft was selected by NASA to provide a minimum of six cargo missions to and from the space station starting in late 2020 under the Commercial Resupply Service 2 (CRS-2) contract.
Over the last 20 years the ISS has represented an unparalleled capability in human spaceflight that is increasing knowledge of engineering and physical sciences, biology, the Earth, and the universe. However, sooner or later the end-of-life of the ISS is approaching. Transition plans for the ISS and LEO beyond the ISS utilisation as well as the transition to other platforms are under discussion by the international ISS partners.
The study team proposes to provide a full end-to-end LEO mission capability using the unique attributes of the Dream Chaser, compatibility with the Ariane 6 launch vehicle, and the ability to land on suitable runways in Europe. European Dream Chaser missions will offer the opportunity to fly various payloads to space, and return them.
Potential missions could be free-flying missions for scientific research, technology demonstrations, deep space exploration preparatory activities as well as service/logistics missions for other orbital platforms, including a more and more commercially operated ISS, or hybrid missions combining afore mentioned mission categories.
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