New Benson Space vehicle design

Ad Astra/ reports that Benson Space Company and SpaceDev plan to release a new design for their Dream Chaser suborbital spacecraft during the ISDC this weekend here in Dallas. The design drops the HL-20-based lifting body approach for the vehicle in favor of a more conventional rocketplane approach that bears similarities to the X-15, albeit with a cockpit studded with portholes like SpaceShipOne. This vehicle is intended to be “safer and more aerodynamic” that the earlier design, Benson said. The article has only a few other details, but Benson is scheduled to speak Friday afternoon during a panel session at the ISDC, which may be his opportunity to talk more about the new design and its implications for the company’s space tourism plans.

Update: Just after I posted this Benson Space issued a press release announcing the new design.

2 comments to New Benson Space vehicle design

  • Chance

    Wow, it uh, looks like a…um… I’ll just say retro. Very ’50s retro. Yeah, that’s it.

    I don’t know, I sort of liked the old design. Not that engineering obstacles are beholden to what I think looks nice.

  • Peter Shearer

    Looks cool and I’m glad they’re getting away from that lifting body concept… Not that I don’t like lifting body aircraft but that one was just kinda ugly and left undesirable interior space for passengers.

    Am wondering about their claim to a “carefree” re-entry? They’re going to have to change a few things before I feel safe about their re-entry… Does anybody remember the yaw-off incident the x-15 had? The one where the plane yawed 15 degrees right(unnoticed by the pilot), re-entered at a right angle to the flight path and entered a mach 5 spin. The aircraft never recovered and Pilot Michael Adams payed the ultimate cost.

    With modern GPS and a RCS (reaction control system) that problem could be avoided… but that’s a Hands-On solution… definitively NOT carefree…

    I could make a few suggestions to adjust their new design to a care-free reentry… but do you think they’d listen to little ol’ me?

    Would love to help… I’m chasing the same dream they are.

    So if DreamChaser ever makes it into space would they rename it DreamCatcher? That seems more appropriete don’t you think?

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