Sunday, September 4, 2011

Dream Chaser

This looks like a contender for an actual system that may see some action in the future. Mind you, I'm not picking winners here. Not to say that someone else may get the nod.

Here's a screenshot from the SpaceDev site which shows an animated version of the Dream Chaser on top of a rocket, presumably an Atlas V.
One thing that I am checking out is if this will fit on top of an SRB, which was to be used with the Ares I rocket, now canceled.  It would be a way to mate a reusable booster with the reusable Dream Chaser.  Not that they would actually want to put their Dream Chaser on a solid rocket booster.  In fact, the word is out that the Atlas V will launch the Dream Chaser.

Was the SRB ever in the running?

As for dimensions, the SRB and the Atlas V are very similar.  Performance wise, well, I don't know.  The SRB is supposed to fire for about 2 minutes.  But it generates a lot of thrust.  Both SRBs in the Shuttle configuration provided 83% of the liftoff thrust, but only 60% of the mass.

What that would mean in terms of altitude and velocity for a 25,000 pound craft, I can only guess.  The shuttle weighed 10 times as much.  A single SRB just might be enough to get to orbital velocity and altitude. But could it be recovered?

The Ares I was designed to send the Orion into orbit.  The Orion's mass came in at twice what the Dream Chaser's.  With far less mass, all the Dream Chaser may need is just a little more boost from its own onboard rockets in order to reach orbit.  I'm not 100% sure of that, though.  Maybe a lot less than 100%.

This isn't a flyable rocket, but it could all be 100% reusable, if the SRB could be recovered in good shape.

Thanks for coming by and have a great evening.

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