10 thoughts on “Dream Chaser”

  1. Isn’t the current iteration just for cargo? Does either version have an airlock or just a docking port? They might need a companion module they can dock with. It could have an airlock and function as a garage or tool sled. They could give the companion module the ability to maintain its orbit a it could hang out nearby until the next time Hubble needs servicing.

  2. Given that the crew version gave way to an unpersonned (ugh) model for the CRS award, and DC doesn’t have an airlock, or berth for HST, or lots of other things, I don’t know that this is at all serious.

    1. The cargo version of DC has an expendable module with solar panels and docking port at the rear; perhaps SN is thinking converting one of them to an airlock. That might work.

      The bigger problem is that it’s a very small vehicle. You could not fit much in there, assuming a minimum crew of three (1 pilot, 2 EVA specialists). There’s no way they could fit something like the Wide Field Camera in there, or likely even the batteries.

      Perhaps the idea is to send up, probably separately on another Atlas, an expendable cargo module with the big stuff, and DC would rendezvous and perhaps even dock with it. Still, that increases the cost of the mission.

  3. Seems kinda farfetched to me, and I don’t see why it couldn’t be done with a capsule instead, the “farfetched” part is because of all the extra requirements such a mission would place on the orbiter.
    Still there is a point about having a manned ship for on-orbit repair of some sort and a case could be made about it, particularly with expensive satellites like Hubble or JWST.

  4. I can’t help but note that the article ignores the question of how.

    How, exactly, would Dreamchaser (assuming there even will be a manned version) make up for the lack of an arm with which to grapple Hubble? Conducting the while job as a spacewalk with the vehicle in free flight sounds… implausible.

    Further omitted; what makes Dreamchaser any more capable for this than, say, CST-100 or Crew Dragon?

  5. I like wodun’s idea of a companion module. Perhaps NASA can pack a Bigelow module with all the repair hardware, send it up and park it next to the Hubble to wait for the Dreamchaser to bring up crew. The lack of a grappling arm could the a problem though.

  6. There’s no reason you couldn’t use Dream Chaser as it has an attached, expendable pressurized cargo module, including attach points for external cargo. You could modify that for use as an airlock and attach a robot arm. But that would be expensive, since the Hubble package would be single-use. I would equip a Cygnus with an airlock, RMS, and cargo bay with doors, modified to be refuelable, and load it with Hubble tools, then park that in the same orbit as Hubble, and plan on multiple servicing missions if I wanted to keep Hubble alive. Each mission would go up in a Dragon 2 with mission-specific pieces and parts in the Dragon’s trunk. (No trunk on CST, unfortunately).This has the advantage of being a design suitable for other missions, with other instance of the Cygnus.

    1. That’s actually not a bad set of ideas.

      If they’re serious about a real long term extension of Hubble, parking a Cygnus like that nearby might not be a bad idea.

      Of course, future missions to replace large items might still require separate launches; storing extra important components long-term inside might in some cases be problematic. Dragon’s trunk certainly offers advantages that DC and CST do not possess.

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