Air & Space Museum

NASA HL-20/Dream Chaser®

NASA HL-20/Dream Chaser®

NASA HL-20/SpaceDev/Sierra Nevada/Sierra Space Dream Chaser Mockup

Shortly after the first flights of the Space Shuttle (in the early 1980s), NASA began engineering studies for a smaller spaceplane. If the Shuttle was the big semi-truck taking large cargo into orbit, the HL-20 would be like a more economical van or minibus. NASA had this engineering research mockup built in 1990 by students at North Carolina State University and North Carolina A & T University, but the HL-20 project was canceled shortly afterward.

From there, the story becomes a wonderful example of how research and new technology developed by NASA can be applied and used by anyone. NASA does not patent or restrict use of the technology it develops, and thousands of for-profit businesses have applied this valuable information to create countless new products—including dozens that you use every day.

Fast forward about 14 years, and SpaceDev had begun work to develop the NASA HL-20 into a six-passenger orbital spacecraft, as well as a four-passenger sub-orbital vehicle for space tourism. Their CEO called the project “Dream Chaser.”

By 2010 Sierra Nevada Corporation (now Sierra Space) had begun work on their Dream Chaser, a newer, more refined spacecraft based on the NASA HL-20. Since then, they developed an uncrewed cargo version of Dream Chaser to fly supplies to and from the International Space Station. The cargo version should fly in a few months. A crewed version that can carry up to seven people will follow in a few years.

Length: 29 ft (8.84 m)
Wingspan: 23 ft 6 in (7.2 m)
Mass: about 20,000 lbs (9,000 kg)
Carries more than two tons of cargo (cargo version) or up to 7 people (crewed version)

Air & Space Museum Air & Space Museum

Lowry - Denver

Air & Space Museum

Upcoming Events

Saturday Oct 7
9:30AM TO 12:30PM
Exploration of Flight

Breakfast Fly-In

Breakfast Fly-In
Saturday, Oct 7 | 9:30AM to 12:30PM

Join Wings Over the Rockies Exploration of Flight for monthly fly-ins featuring planes, pilots and breakfast!

On the first Saturday of every month, enjoy breakfast from a local food truck, watch aircraft fly in and explore interactive exhibits and simulators.

Purchase Tickets

Food Truck: Cruz In & Eat
Please note: Food purchases are not included in admission.

Pilots – Fly in for free breakfast! For tie-down space, contact or 303.360.5360 ext 160.

Saturday Oct 14
9:00AM TO 2:00PM
Exploration of Flight

Round Engine Roundup with an Eclipse Encounter

Round Engine Roundup with an Eclipse Encounter
Saturday, Oct 14 | 9:00AM to 2:00PM

Join us at Exploration of Flight for a roundup of round engine aircraft, featuring the Sea Fury. Plus, view the 2023 Annular Eclipse from Centennial Airport! Build your own telescope and create a moon phase calendar at our learning stations, followed by an educational talk about the eclipse from Wings Over the Rockies Curator Chuck Stout.

Arrive early for prime eclipse viewing, as the eclipse is expected to be visible in the area around 10:30 a.m. The first 100 people will receive free eclipse glasses to safely view the eclipse. Additional glasses will be for sale.

Pre-Purchase Tickets

Food Truck: Colorado Coney Company

Saturday Oct 14
10:00AM TO 11:00AM

Teachers Only | Professional Development: Nose Art

Teachers Only | Professional Development: Nose Art
Saturday, Oct 14 | 10:00AM to 11:00AM

Teacher Workshop: Nose Art

Teachers are invited to join us for this online workshop and learn a unique aerospace lesson to bring to your classroom!

As aviation developed, especially as the result of World War I, many pilots chose to decorate their aircraft with designs intended to intimidate their opponents, or to remind the pilots of easier times at home. During this unique program, participants will have a chance to review some of that remarkable history and develop their own insignia and learn how to generate the image on a square of aircraft aluminum.

Register below and you will receive a confirmation email with the online meeting link.

Register Here

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