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SpaceDev Begins Work on "Dream Chaser" Spacecraft

Posted by: Stellvia - Mon Sep 20, 2004 7:02 pm
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SpaceDev Begins Work on "Dream Chaser" Spacecraft 
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Post SpaceDev Begins Work on "Dream Chaser" Spacecraft   Posted on: Mon Sep 20, 2004 7:02 pm
From http://www.spacedev.com/newsite/templat ... hp?pid=489

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POWAY, CA (September 20, 2004) – SpaceDev (OTCBB: SPDV) has begun designing a reuseable, piloted, sub-orbital space ship that could be scaled up to safely and economically transport passengers to and from low earth orbit, including the International Space Station. The name of the vehicle is the “SpaceDev Dream Chaser.”

<snip>...

“This project is one small step for SpaceDev, but could evolve into one giant leap for affordable, commercial human space flight,” said Jim Benson. “I have been waiting for almost fifty years for commercial space flight, and have concluded that SpaceDev, through our unbroken string of successful space technology developments, now has the technical capability and know-how, along with our partners, and when fully funded, to quickly develop a safe and affordable human space flight program, beginning with sub-orbital flights in the near future, and building up to reliable orbital public space transportation hopefully by the end of this decade.”

<snip>...

The sub-orbital SpaceDev Dream Chaser is derived from an existing X-Plane concept and will have an altitude goal of approximately 160 km (about 100 miles) and will be powered by a single, high performance hybrid rocket motor, under parallel development by SpaceDev for the SpaceDev Streaker, a family of small, expendable launch vehicles, designed to affordably deliver small satellites to low earth orbit. The SpaceDev Dream Chaser will use motor technology being developed for the SpaceDev Streaker booster stage, the most powerful motor in the Streaker family. The SpaceDev Dream Chaser motor will produce approximately 100,000 pounds of thrust, about six times the thrust of the SpaceShipOne motor, but less than one-half the thrust of the 250,000 pounds of thrust produced by hybrid rocket motors developed several years ago by the American Rocket Company (AMROC).


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Post    Posted on: Mon Sep 20, 2004 7:10 pm
Aren't they running a bit behind the facts? I know they have some experience but if they say that its gonna be 2008, i'll bet that SS2 will be on testflight or something.

Why re-invent the wheel again??


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Post    Posted on: Mon Sep 20, 2004 7:20 pm
More to the point, one wonders if it places any roadblocks in the way of Rutan's Tier Two and Three projects, if his propulsion systems prime contractor is now effectively in direct competition with him :shock:

Still, looks like a cool project. Go, SpaceDev! :D


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Post    Posted on: Tue Sep 21, 2004 12:38 am
remember that scaled is technically a research firm, so i doubt they really care that much, though paul allen may. i bet this is just spacedev taking an extra spin on what they already've done or will be doing soon for ss2-3.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Sep 21, 2004 2:53 am
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More to the point, one wonders if it places any roadblocks in the way of Rutan's Tier Two and Three projects,


A speculation on my part: Scaled/Mojave hasn't contacted SpaceDev about SS2's motor, and SpaceDev has decided to continue on with plans of their own? Naaa..

In any case, its a study partly funded by NASA and appears it may even use the X-34's airframe (glad they didn't scrap it), so it may just be easy money for SpaceDev to give this a shot. Plus SpaceDev already has the motor design. (The steaker rocket, which, if I am not mistaken, is based on work done from AMROC).. so.. why not?


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Post    Posted on: Tue Sep 21, 2004 3:06 am
Rather misleading. That thing isnt going to reach orbit much less supply the ISS with a goal of 160km. But it would make a good research vehicle. But the version three (Tier3?) would be orbital. Same approach as Mojave.

Anyone notice it is a three person vehicle? 8) The X-Prize legacy on the design is still strong.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Sep 21, 2004 7:42 am
The article is saying that SpaceDevs vehicle will launch vertical - SS1 is launching horizontally. So there is NO direct competition between Scaled Composites and SpaceDev.

And speaking of SS2 or SS3 today is speculation on Scaled's projects.

If Scaled or Mojave Aerospace will try to go to orbit really they might develop new engines working different compared to that of SS1.



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Post    Posted on: Tue Sep 21, 2004 10:57 am
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
The article is saying that SpaceDevs vehicle will launch vertical - SS1 is launching horizontally. So there is NO direct competition between Scaled Composites and SpaceDev.


They may be using different technology and launch modes, but they're certainly competing for similar markets. The paying customer doesn't particularly care *how* his payload gets launched, as long as it gets launched cheaply and reliably.

Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
And speaking of SS2 or SS3 today is speculation on Scaled's projects.


Speculation informed by Burt's own public statements. After all, if there isn't going to be an SS2 or 3, what is Mojave Aerospace for? :)

Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
If Scaled or Mojave Aerospace will try to go to orbit really they might develop new engines working different compared to that of SS1.


But Scaled/Mojave don't have any rocket propulsion development expertise "in-house". If they don't work with SpaceDev, who *are* they going to work with? XCOR?


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Post    Posted on: Tue Sep 21, 2004 11:33 am
Concerning the markets you are right.

But this seldom is preventing businesses between competitors if these businesses are not concerning the products to be sold on the markets. SpaceDev has sold engine(s) to Scaled but they didn't sell them the property rights on the construction plans. So there is no obstacle to use this engine(s) as a basis for a spacecraft of their own. This business concerning the engine(s) doesn't effect the spacecraft market and it doesn't effect the spacflight market too. The engine isn't the spacecraft yet.

Concerning Burt Rutan's public statements we have to be very careful I suppose. Scaled's secrecy is legendary and when I myself sent them an email asking for an orbital spacecraft too I was told that SS1 is suborbital and that there is no project to construct an orbital spacecraft yet. But I know Rutan's public statements. So you are right - Rutan is thinking of and considering orbital flights. But that doesn't mean yet that there is a project. There might be a secret project or he might secretly start an orbital project after the XPRIZE is won. But this project perhaps doesn't develop a SS2 -it might lead to quite new developments resulting in a quite different launch concept. And the "tier" might be named different too.

Additionaly I remember that Rutan has said too that the next step making sense will be a six-person-version of SS1 -which still will be suborbital.

Concerning an orbital engine they might buy from SpaceDev's competitor because he might have improved the engine Scaled didn't buy. He might do further improvements leading to an engine that is better than SpaceDev's. In this case Scaled may buy it from the competitor. Additionaly Scaled has had special ideas and visions of the engine when they ordered it and talked to two producers. So they must have sufficient expertise to do so.

I didn't want to oppone to you - I only wanted to say that SpaceDevs entry is far from rivalry and hostile competition. They will have their own concept like all the teams competing for the XPRIZE and later the CUP. Rivalry and hostile competiton are not to be expected before there is significant selection by real market competition - today there is no such market competition because we are in the initial development phase.



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Post    Posted on: Tue Sep 21, 2004 1:28 pm
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They will have their own concept like all the teams competing for the XPRIZE and later the CUP


But SPaceDev will not qualify to compete for the Cup, not unless the develop totally new engines and airframe. The X-34 was developed by NASA, the Streaker motor has, IIRC, received some DoD or NASA funding, and their new concept vehicle is partly funded by the government too.

Who needs a prize, when you've got guaranteed money?


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Post    Posted on: Tue Sep 21, 2004 1:42 pm
I don't think they want to compete for the CUP. My point is that as long as there is no real market nobody knows which concepts and teams will be selected by the market. This means that it is advantageous to create a different or new concept - especially if a firm is an engine-producer too.

This is the reason why it doesn't matter that SpaceDev enters the market for "suborbital" spacecrafts and/or flights.

As soon as there is a market there will be selection and success will be restricted to those market competitors that follow the selected concepts, improve them or do further development of that concepts.

Then entries of firms earlier producing engines only really will matter.



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Post    Posted on: Wed Sep 22, 2004 2:53 am
bad_astra wrote:
Who needs a prize, when you've got guaranteed money?


Agreed. There are teams working on the same goals but independent of the X-Prize foundation. Blue Origin is one that comes to mind.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Sep 22, 2004 8:50 am
Might be in the sense of the XPRIZE Foundation because these XPRIZE-independent teams perhaps wouldn't have started working on this goals or couldn't get public attention and a market.

Relevant aspect to be considered as not good is the participation of and possible being dependent from the government.



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Post    Posted on: Wed Sep 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Yeah. Most alt.space companies can benefit in one way or another from a successful XPrize. SpaceDev was already publically funded before it sold motors to Scaled, but showing that it can achieve safe spaceflight (which AMROC never did) let alone human spaceflight is going to be a postive boon for them. Government contracts are very important, after all world governments pay for the bulk of launches by an overwhelming majority, if you factor in launches like Soyuz and Shuttle, especially (or even if you don't), so it's important for NASA to be forced to look at these other companies and realize they deserve a shot at contracts, as opposed to constantly handing them off to the Big Three.

So now we start to see DARPA and NASA paying real money going towards Scaled, SpaceDev, SpaceX, Kistler, Microcosm, and others, as opposed to the occasional bone they used to throw the alt.space companies. It's about time.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Sep 22, 2004 2:09 pm
I just this moment remember that the Aldridge Report mentioned the XPRIZE and took it as an example and incentive to recommend prizes to cause and finance the Bush-Plan of missions to moon and Mars. also the members of the commission as well as the directors of several space-oriented enterprises said that they only require a guarantee of NASA to use the offered docking equipments to build their own private spacecrafts. As if they have the plans already in their bags and only missed the demander(s) to make up its (their) mind(s).

This too is an indirect effect of the XPRIZE.



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