Sierra Nevada Corp. is preparing for a second series of flight tests in early 2016 for its Dream Chaser vehicles, which are designed to carry up to seven Dream Chaser Prepares for 2016 Test FlightsDream Chaser Prepares for 2016 Test Flightspassengers in low Earth orbit. Lockheed Martin reportedly is leveraging tooling and composite best practices to manufacture the first orbital Dream Chaser spacecraft.

In anticipation of a second phase of flight-testing, Sierra Nevada says that several updates have been made to the two craft.

Structural and systems improvements to its atmospheric engineering test article (ETA) since Phase 1 include composite wings, aeroshells, spacecraft orbital avionics, guidance navigation and control, flight software and new processes for use on the orbital vehicle. An advanced orbital Thermal Protection System (TPS) also was installed on the ETA for testing. The ETA will arrive at the Armstrong Flight Research Center in 2016 for testing.

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