Coming Soon: The Dream Chaser, a Nimbler Space Shuttle- page 1 | Innovation | Smithsonian
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(Ken Ulbrich / NASA)

Coming Soon: The Dream Chaser, a Nimbler Space Shuttle

This NASA-funded project could head into orbit within just a few years

The Dream Chaser

Dream Chaser
(Ken Ulbrich / NASA)

You will, it is hoped, forgive the fanciful name: the Dream Chaser. But there is something distinctly aspirational about the shrink-wrapped experimental spacecraft that arrived at Edwards Air Force Base in California on the back of a flatbed truck. Designed by the SpaceDev Company and built in Colorado by the Sierra Nevada Corporation with $330 million in NASA funding, it’s based on a decades-old NASA design concept called the HL-20, which was itself reverse-engineered from a 1980s Soviet prototype spotted by an Australian spy plane.

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