The Return of the Spaceplane


I’ve previously mentioned that it feels like we are at the dawn of new era in space travel. That we are now inching closer to interplanetary travel. With the advances and progress from SpaceX to that of NASA itself, within the next 10 years give or take, we could see mankind back on the moon and on Mars.

This past week NASA posted about setting the stage for the return of the spaceplane.

The ISS and Beyond

Since the retirement of NASA’s space shuttles, it was unclear what the next step would be. SpaceX has made lots of progress with rockets and more traditional spacecraft that look like stuff out of the ’60s. But one has to wonder how we would advance to the next level to travel beyond the Lower Earth Orbit and supply missions to the International Space Station (ISS).

Even Elon Musk has shown that for SpaceX to travel to Mars they will be developing a spaceplane of some kind.

Dream Chaser

Now, SNC one of three companies that have been awarded contracts to ferry cargo from 2019 through 2024 to the IS —, is diligently working on a project that has years of history behind it. Based on Langley’s HL-20 lifting-body design, the Dream Chaser spacecraft combines years of NASA analysis and wind tunnel research with SNC engineering.

Through the rest of this year, SNC is continuing with Dream Chaser flight tests at NASA’s Armstrong Research Center — which will bring us one step closer to the return of the spaceplane.

This is all very exciting to me and can’t wait to see where this all leads us.


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