Press Release

Benson Space Improves Design of Its Spaceship

By SpaceRef Editor
May 25, 2007
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As a result of a five month-long study by SpaceDev, Benson Space Company (BSC) has chosen to pursue a fresh approach in the design of its Dream Chaser spaceship, it was announced today by BSC Chairman and President Jim Benson.

Rather than using the orbital NASA HL-20 vehicle as a model, BSC will base its suborbital spaceship on an amalgam of the NASA and Air Force X-2, X-15 and T-38 vehicles. While the new design is safer and more aerodynamic, explains Benson, it will also be easier and faster to construct, allowing BSC to remain on-schedule to make its initial commercial spaceflights in 2009 — aiming to provide the first, safest and best astronaut-making spaceflights for the emerging space tourism market.

“The mandate of our initial five-month Phase I study, which began in November, was a design review to ensure that we had the very best spaceship possible. During the past two months a small, highly experienced team has taken a fresh look and concluded that we can do better,” says Benson. “To that end, the new spaceship will incorporate the best elements selected from other successful vehicles. This will result in a spaceship that provides a better ride and even more spectacular views, and at this early stage we will lose little time in bringing it to the commercial market.”

The new Dream Chaser spaceship design is lighter and sleeker, resulting in less drag and requiring less propulsion than the earlier design. The vehicle, powered by safe hybrid rocket motors, will launch vertically and glide to a landing at the launch site. A safer carefree reentry, after achieving an altitude of at least 65 miles, will subject passengers to minimal G-forces, compared to other designs. It will also have many large, well-placed windows for ideal passenger views of the Earth and space.

About Benson Space Company

Established in September 2006, Benson Space Company (BSC) seeks to provide the first, safest and lowest cost astronaut-making spaceflights for the emerging personal spaceflight market. BSC is led by Jim Benson, founder of Compusearch and founder and former chairman and CEO of SpaceDev, which developed the world’s only hybrid rocket motors used for human spaceflight. Under Benson’s guidance for nearly a decade, SpaceDev designed and produced an innovative satellite for NASA and the hybrid rocket motor technology for Paul Allen’s SpaceShipOne, the vehicle that won the $10 million Ansari X Prize in 2004. BSC is currently developing Dream Chaser spaceships, based on proven designs, which will allow BSC to offer the world’s first, commercial, suborbital spaceflights. For more information visit

SpaceRef staff editor.