Dream Chaser completes successful glide test

Dream Chaser landing
Sierra Nevada Corp.’s prototype Dream Chaser space plane lands at Edwards Air Force Base in California after a drop test
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15 November, 2017

The device was tested in free flight mode and landing. In 2013 during the same tests with the ship when the landing gear refused, and he was severely injured.

Saturday's free-flight test "verified and validated the performance of the Dream Chaser in the critical final approach and landing phase of flight, meeting expected models for a future return from the International Space Station", Armstrong officials said, adding that more tests will likely follow. But previous year, NASA awarded a second round of contracts, in order to cover cargo shipments to the ISS from 2019 through 2024.

The Dream Chaser is being developed to carry cargo to and from the International Space Station without a crew aboard.

SNC released a video of the test and held a media teleconference this afternoon. NASA funded several companies, including SNC, through a succession of development activities in the first half of the decade, one of which was the Commercial Crew Integrated Capabilities (CCiCAP) program.

Sierra Nevada and NASA are planning to review the test flight to confirm both the spacecraft's general flight characteristics and the performance of the flight software on board, which was in use for the first time.

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In early 2017, sources from this facility announced that the spacecraft would be dropped from a height of 3,810 meters by a Columbia 234-UT helicopter for this test. The vehicle occupied the same hanger that Nasa used before for its Space Shuttle Enterprise in the late 1970s. If it is, Sirangelo said it's unlikely this test vehicle will perform a similar flight, and will instead be placed in "flyable storage".

Steve Lindsey, a former NASA astronaut who flew on five space shuttle missions, is now SNC's Vice President for space exploration systems.

It is 30 feet (9 meters) long, about one quarter the length of a space shuttle and is a type of craft known as a "lifting body" in which aerodynamic lift is generated by its shape rather than traditional wings. It's also designed with a "lifting body" meaning it can land nearly anywhere.

The company performed a tow test on the vehicle a little bit over two months before the free-flight test. The Dream Chaser, however, which is meant to launch on top of an Atlas V rocket, glides down to Earth like a plane after reentering the atmosphere, landing horizontally on a runway.


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