SAN ANTONIO. Applied research and development organization Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio, Texas, has selected SAKOR Technologies Inc. in San Antonio, Texas, to build and supply a sophisticated system, which uses simulation and data analytics, to test the atmospheric flight control system SwRI is developing for Sierra Nevada Corp.’s (SNC’s) Dream Chaser spacecraft.
SwRI won a contract from SNC to design and build the atmospheric flight control system for Dream Chaser, a lifting-body, reusable, crewed or uncrewed horizontal-landing vehicle owned and operated by SNC to serve as a space utility vehicle for low-Earth orbit (LEO).
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 spacecraft emulator, officials say. 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, a built-in capability of the DynoLAB system.
“We are extremely proud to have been selected for this project, which is so critical to our nation’s next-generation space capabilities,” says Randal Beattie, president of SAKOR. “We are confident that the system will push the design envelope to ensure the atmospheric control system can handle anything it may have thrown at it.”
SAKOR Technologies Inc. is a manufacturer and developer of reliable and cost-effective automated test instrumentation systems for a wide range of applications. For over 30 years, the company has been providing products and customer service to a variety of markets, including automotive, hybrid and electric vehicle, military, aerospace, marine, heavy equipment, performance racing, electric motor, consumer appliance, and more.
SwRI, headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is one of the oldest and largest independent, nonprofit, applied research and development organizations in the United States.