Dream Chaser Space Plane Passes Landing Test

14 November, 2017, 01:53 | Author: Carmen Reese
  • Dream Chaser landing

It's an important milestone in the Dream Chaser's development, as Sierra Nevada readies the plane for spaceflight.

- A mini-shuttle that one day may ferry supplies and astronauts to the space station is one small step closer to space after a successful test flight over the weekend.

11 that its Dream Chaser test article successfully performed a glide flight at Edwards Air Force Base in California. They're created to be used 15 or more times and have autonomous launch, flight and landing capabilities, according to Sierra Nevada Corp.

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Resembling a mini Space Shuttle, the Dream Chaser will soon be used to send cargo to and from the International Space Station as part of NASA's Commercial Cargo Program.

According to Nasa, the flight test "helped advance the vehicle under Nasa's Commercial Crew Program space act agreement, as well as helped prepare the vehicle for service under Nasa's Commercial Resupply Services 2 program". Unlike other spacecraft - the capsules that look like the vehicles that flew in the Apollo-era - the Dream Chaser has wings and wheels that allow it to land on a runway. It is being created to land on runways and then allow crews to access the materials flown back to Earth soon after landing. Future orbital vehicles will launch on Atlas V rockets from United Launch Alliance, and Lockheed Martin has partnered with Sierra Nevada to develop the composite structural shell of the orbital-class vehicles. Since then, Sierra Nevada has been modifying the Dream Chaser to just carry cargo. The first one, back in 2013, didn't go all that smoothly: the vehicle's landing gears failed, causing the spaceplane to crash land and then skid off the runway. The company said several hours after the test that the glide flight was a success, and would release more details November 13. Sierra Nevada plans to give more details on the test during a press conference this afternoon.

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