SAKOR Technologies is supplying a test system to Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) to be used to test the atmospheric flight control system for the Dream Chaser® spacecraft. Dream Chaser is a lifting-body, reusable, crewed or uncrewed horizontal-landing vehicle. It is owned and operated by Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and is designed as a space utility vehicle for low-Earth orbit.
Contracted by SNC to design and build the atmospheric flight control system, SwRI selected SAKOR to build a sophisticated system to exercise Dream Chaser’s new control system and simulate flight from atmospheric interface to landing. The system characterizes overall design performance as well as dynamic response to physical forces typically experienced in standard and extreme flight conditions.
The Dream Chaser spacecraft features seven control surfaces and the SAKOR-designed test system features seven dynamometers, each simulating dynamic loads on a specific control surface. SAKOR’s DynoLAB data acquisition and control system controls the entire test stand, acting as a space craft emulator. Sending test profiles to the atmospheric flight controller as well as simulating force feedback from each control surface, DynoLAB communicates directly with the atmospheric flight control system via MIL-STD-1553B bus, which is a built-in capability of the DynoLAB system.