back to article Some assembly required as Dream Chaser mini-shuttle's empty husk arrives in Colorado

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has wheeled out the first production version of its Dream Chaser spacecraft ahead of a 2021 mission to the International Space Station. Of course, this wasn't the completed vehicle, but rather the "primary vehicle structure", as the company put it. We're a little surprised that no wag thought …

  1. Alister Silver badge

    Do they paint the parts before assembly?

    I never used to...

    I never read the instructions properly, either...

    1. MiguelC Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Do they paint the parts before assembly?

      I can relate. Bill Waterson captured the perfect essence of me as a kid with model kits....

  2. Daniel Gould
    Trollface

    Sierra Entertainment

    For some reason my mind instantly read Sierra Nevada Corp as Sierra Entertainment.

    Cue thoughts of Leisure Suit Larry piloting the first flight!!

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: Sierra Entertainment

      I immediately think of beer...

    2. Mayday Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Sierra Entertainment

      Might turn up to Kennedy SpaceCentre and tell them Ken sent me,

    3. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: Sierra Entertainment

      Surely it would be Roger Wilco from Space Quest.

      Pass me that broom!

  3. Francis Boyle Silver badge

    I'd go with the

    "enhanced vision systems". Windows can fall out. Oh, look, it happened again.

    1. Leedos

      Re: I'd go with the

      Thanks for that link to British Airways Flight 5390. I hadn't read about that incident. The captain got violently blown half way out the window. He was frost bitten and his head repeatedly bounced off the fuselage while they descended. The crew had to fight to hold him inside. Makes you think twice before you take off your seat belts.

  4. Blockchain commentard Silver badge
    Holmes

    1800kg return payload? That's some shit !!!!! Geddit?

    1. Bite my finger
      Alien

      Not necessarily. I imagine the Grays might like a means of ingress that doesn't involve hillbillies with shotguns.

  5. lglethal Silver badge
    Go

    Windows are a pain in the a$$

    And no I'm not talking about the Microsoft version.

    They add significant weight, problems with sealing (doubly so in the space environment), significantly weaken your structure, and are an utter shite to install.

    Stick a couple of cameras embedded in the structure on the outside and some monitors in place of the windows and let people look out the "windows" that way.

    *grumble*grumble*old aerospace engineer*dang kids get off my lawn*grumble*grumble*

    1. Ugotta B. Kiddingme Silver badge

      Re: Windows are a pain in the a$$

      I would think an old aerospace engineer would want the dang kids to get off his/her lawnchpad.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Windows are a pain in the a$$

      For the engineer, they might be, but as a human being I do prefer being to see things with my own eyes.

      That said, I must admit that, when watching sci-fi spaceships of a certain size (the ones you can land on), I really think that having the control of an entire vessel one window pane away from the void of space is kind of asking for trouble - especially if it's a combat ship.

      I would think that the control center should be embedded deep in the structure of the vessel, and have redundant monitoring equipment to manage attitude, roll and direction.

      But for small vessels ? Put the windows back in.

      1. Carpet Deal 'em Bronze badge

        Re: Windows are a pain in the a$$

        I would think that the control center should be embedded deep in the structure of the vessel, and have redundant monitoring equipment to manage attitude, roll and direction.

        The combat information center on real-world warships dates back to World War II(where the US Navy shamelessly stole it from the Lensman series). But that's on warships; I'm fairly certain that civilian ships still have most of the interesting information on the bridge.

        But for small vessels ? Put the windows back in.

        I'd say this applies for anything that has a controlled landing. If descent is entirely computer controlled, there's not much of a point, but the possibility of human intervention does require the squishy (potentially) in charge to actually be able to see what's happening. There might be ways of getting sufficient sight without full-sized windows, but the end result must absolutely work without power.

    3. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Windows are a pain in the a$$

      When the worst happens, you want to be able to look out. Spacecraft have been known to experience weird power problems. Being able to look out can be very important.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: Windows are a pain in the a$$

        Just ask the Apollo 13 crew...

    4. phuzz Silver badge
      Gimp

      Re: Windows are a pain in the a$$

      Windows still work even Windows (for Spaceships) has crashed ;)

      And I've have expected an old aerospace engineer to go for a technically simpler design that's more fail-safe.

  6. David Lewis 2
    Boffin

    Lazy Editing!

    "Up to 5,500kg (12,000 pounds or 5.4 imperial tons) of payload will be lugged to orbit by the spacecraft, which measures just over 9 metres (30ft) in length, 4.5 metres (15ft) wide and just under 2 metres high (6ft)."

    Can we have that in El-Reg approved units please?

    1. imanidiot Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Lazy Editing!

      Up to 1309.5238 Jubs of payload will be lugged to orbit by the spacecraft, which measures just over 64.2857 Linguini (0.9762 double-decker bus) in length, 32.1429 Linguini (0.4881 double-decker bus) wide and just under 14.2857 Linguini (0.091 brontosaurusses) high

  7. F111F
    Holmes

    ESA Purchase?

    So, why doesn't ESA buy a couple, one manned, one unmanned, launch on Ariane 6 out of Guiana, and recover in Europe? Seems like a sweet deal, ESA gets it's own spaceship to transport to LEO/ISS to do various experiments/things, and returns said euro-astros and experiments directly home to Europe, since this thing can land on any 10,000ft runway.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: ESA Purchase?

      Because the French & Germans would both want to pay 50% & build 75% of it.

  8. Chris G Silver badge

    The pic reminds me of the Martian ship they dug up in Quatermas and the Pit.

  9. MrBanana

    Was it on the front of a magazine?

    Build your own Dream Chaser! Each month you'll get a magazine with a new part of the assembly. First issue costs just £3.99**

    ** Subsequent issues cost £1million, 749 issues in the series.

  10. Ugotta B. Kiddingme Silver badge

    Why just a window?

    We just need to negotiate for a General Products number 2 or number 3 hull and problem solved.

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