The shuttle's successors

At first sight the Dream Chaser looks like a smaller version of the Space Shuttle, the vehicle it is designed to replace. In fact its origins can be traced back to the designs for Nasa's unfinished HL-20, a winged craft that was to serve as the lifeboat for the International Space Station.

Diagram showing details of Dream Chaser

"Space is hard and we know that"

Mark Sirangelo, Sierra Nevada Corporation

Dream Chaser

  • 2015 launch date
  • Atlas V launch vehicle
  • 7 total crew capacity
  • $100m Nasa funding so far*
  • Runway landings

Like the shuttle, Dream Chaser's primary mission is to carry crew and cargo into low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station. Its developer, the Sierra Nevada Corporation, says the re-usable craft will be able to land on conventional runways.


Pictured above left is a scale model of Nasa's HL-20, the Dream Chaser's inspiration. On the right, a wire-frame image, again of the HL-20. Before the Dream Chaser launches in 2015, it needs to pass a safety checklist that includes, atmospheric, orbital and crew-rated testing.

*Total funding given in rounds one and two of Nasa's Commercial Crew Development programme (CCDev).

More on This Story

Space shuttle

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Science & Environment stories



  • Member of staff at The National Archives in KewFree information?

    The reaction when 13 departments were sent the same FOI request

  • Andy Murray in action in the Australian Open semi finalTeam tennis

    Why it pays for players like Murray to have an entourage

  • Dippy on display in the Hintze Hall. Photo by Nathalie DiazFarewell to Dippy

    Your stories of the most famous dinosaur in Kensington

  • Motorists make their way over Hannahstown Hill on January 29, 2015 in Belfast, In pictures

    Wintry images of UK's most widespread snow so far this year

  • Composite picture of David Cameron and Nick Clegg on separate official visitsMarginal choices?

    New funds for your town - but is visiting minister after your vote?

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.