Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser

This animation, produced by manufacturer Sierra Nevada, shows Dream Chaser carrying out the mission it was designed for: taking off from Earth, flying to and docking with the International Space Station, and returning. Unlike the two other vehicles competing for the job of space shuttle successor, Dream Chaser has a shape similar to that of its forebear. However, its propulsion is different: Dream Chaser is launched on an Atlas V. On the way to the station, the two stages of the launcher gradually fall away, and from then on, Dream Chaser is powered by its hybrid engines. On the return trip, the vehicle would experience less that 1.5 Gs on reentry into Earth's atmosphere, and would glide to a landing on an airport runway. (04:01)