Oferte Emag

Trying to Make a Dream Come True

The story began on June 3, 1982, when a camera in an Australian P-3 patrol plane captured images of a Soviet ship recovering a space craft from the Indian Ocean.

It continued Wednesday, when Sierra Nevada Corp. honored the employees — many now retired — at NASA’s Langley Research Center who used those photos to carve a cherry wood model of the Soviet craft, a BOR-4, then used that model as the jumping-off point to the HL-20 (for horizontal lander) personnel space vehicle.

A proper ending, says Sierra Nevada chairman, Mark Sirangelo, would be for its version of the HL-20, the “Dream Chaser,” to ferry crews from Earth to the International Space Station and back.

On April 18, NASA awarded Sierra Nevada — a Louisville, Colo., firm — $80 million to continue work on the Dream Chaser after it was judged among four winners of the second round of the Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program.

“I had made a promise that if we ever got to the point where the program was beginning to go to the next level, that we would find a way to come back and thank all of those people who enabled this,” Sirangelo told [...]

HL-20 Model for Personnel Launch System Research: A Lifting-Body Concept

For the past several years, NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., has been studying an enhanced lifting body candidate for manned orbital missions. This concept, designated the HL-20, has been designed for low operations cost, improved flight safety and conventional runway landings.

With increasing national interest in obtaining routine access to space, a number of Earth-to-orbit transportation systems are being studied. One, referred to as a Personnel Launch System (PLS), could utilize the HL-20 and an expendable launch system to provide manned access complementing the Space Shuttle.

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The HL-20 experimental aircraft mock-up at North Carolina State University. Credit: NASA

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The HL-20 mockup, shown here in front of the Langley hangar. Langley developed the technology for a small space vehicle which one day may be used to transport up to 10 astronauts and small cargo to and from low-Earth orbit during missions lasting up to three days. Credit: NASA

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The interior of the HL-20 mockup. Credit: NASA

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Artist’s concept of an HL-20 at a space station. Credit: NASA

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Langley volunteers, wearing flight suits and helmets, were put through a series of tests with the [...]