The second round of funding in the Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program has been announced by NASA.
Sierra Nevada Corporation received $80 million in the second round to go with the $20 million it received in 2010. Sierra Nevada acquired the Dream Chaser project in December 2008, and won funding in round one of the CCDev program. This was the largest award in round one.
The project derives from the HL-20 program undertaken in 1990 by NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.
The Dream Chaser is designed to carry up to seven people to the International Space Station and back.
The vehicle is designed to launch vertically on an Atlas V rocket and land horizontally on conventional runways.
This is great news for the future of private space flight. Sierra Nevada and SpaceX seem to be making real break troughs for private space flight. I sure hope this latest round of NASA encouraging private space flight produces real privatization that is not forever backed by tax payers.
This is not the first time the President has made the decision to help encourage private companies to come up with their own ways of flying into space. After the Challenger shuttle exploded in 1986 President Reagan stopped allowing private companies to use of the shuttles for launching commercial satellites into orbit. The shuttle program was started in the 1970’s with the understanding that all American launches would us it. To help encourage private companies to send satellites into orbit NASA only charged about ten percent of the actual cost involved. Since this decision was made in 1986 only one new aerospace company has been created with the ability to launch payloads into orbit, they are called Orbital Sciences. The two companies known for rockets and the ability to send things into space are Lockheed Martin and Boeing. These companies seem to be complacent with just launching government projects.