Benson Space Company based in Poway, California, has a new design, the Benson Dream Chaser. It uses a sleek and simple rocket, launches vertically on hybrid motors to take a small winged rocketship to space height, and lands on a runway. Dream Chaser's aerodynamic design requires less propulsion and promises G-forces less severe than the competition. Passengers will pay $200,000 to $300,000 per ride. The idea is to lift off vertically in a sort of miniature version of a NASA rocket launch, and then land like a minishuttle. The little rocketship runs on hybrid motors similar to the ones that powered SS1 but does not require a moth-ership. Propellants are liquid nitrous oxide (N2O), the oxidizer, and solid HTPB (hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene), the synthetic rubber fuel. Dream Chaser is right on target for its first commercial flight in 2009 and is currently taking reservations.
M.A. Bentley, Spaceplanes: From Airport to Spaceport, 183
doi:10.1007/978-0-387-76510-5_12, © Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009
Was this article helpful?