Air & Space Museum
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)
Build an Airplane Showcase
Building Airplanes – A Riveting Experience!
Join us at Wings Over the Rockies for a fun, hands-on, learning day in the hangar! Kids and families will receive riveting kits to put together their own model airplane. We will also have wooden air tanker planes to put together and paint. There will be demonstrations of construction and riveting on actual planes that are in the process of being built and the opportunity to learn from some of our local craftsmen about what it takes to build your own plane. You can also get a walk around of the Vans RV-12iS that was built by Wings Aerospace Pathways (WAP) students and see the very start of the next RV-12iS that is currently being built.
Talk with Neil Kardos about his highly modified RV-6 and with Brian Beatty about his award winning RV-7A. This will be an opportunity to learn about their experiences of building their airplanes from start to finish.
Speaker Series | Why Explore Space?
Join us in the Harrison Ford Theater at Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum for a presentation about space exploration by Wings’ Curator, Chuck Stout.
Are there any good reasons to spend money or to risk human lives by traveling into space? Space exploration can be expensive and there are certainly risks. But what are the benefits? This presentation investigates some of the ways that space exploration has already changed our lives, as well as how it might solve problems and improve our future.
This event is included in museum admission.
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