Sierra Nevada has achieved its second milestone under NASA's commercial crew integrated capability (CCiCap) programme to develop the Dream Chaser, earning the company $45 million as the vehicle prepares for glide testing.
Sierra Nevada announced that it has completed the programme implementation review and the integrated system baseline review, the first two of ten CCiCap goals. Upon completion of the tenth and last milestone and delivery of the final payment, the company will have received a total of $212.5 million, roughly half that of fellow awardees (and competitors) Boeing and SpaceX.
"Both [completed] CCiCap milestones offered us the opportunity to communicate SNC's detailed development plans, as well as to receive and incorporate NASA's comments and feedback," says Jim Voss, vice-president of space exploration systems.
The milestone completions come as the first Dream Chaser, a winged lifting body, is packed for shipping to Edwards AFB from the company's factory in Louisville, Colorado. At Edwards AFB the aircraft will be lifted to altitude by a helicopter and glide back to the runway, testing its aerodynamic performance.
A second Dream Chaser, the first example capable of spaceflight, is under fabrication at Lockheed Martin's Michaud factory in Louisiana.
Although both reviews were originally scheduled to be completed by October 2012, delays are considered routine among spaceflight programmes.