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Mini-shuttle glides to safe landing in desert test flight

14 November, 2017, 01:56 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • Dream Chaser successfully completes glide flight

The company said several hours after the test that the glide flight was a success, and would release more details November 13.

The Dream Chaser is only a quarter of the size that the Space Shuttle was.

"The lifting-body design gives Dream Chaser a higher lift-to-drag ratio and allows for greater cross-range landing capability, meaning the landing zone (or places where it can land) is greatly increased", said the company.

As Geek Wire notes, Sierra Nevada landed a different contract past year to use the Dream Chaser as an unmanned vehicle to transfer cargo back and forth to the International Space Station. It glided towards the Edwards Air Force Base in California and successfully landed.

The Dream Chaser prototype spacecraft passed a big test yesterday, gliding to a successful landing on a runway in the Mojave Desert after it was dropped from a helicopter. Sierra Nevada representatives announced on Twitter Saturday.

The company is also developing a version of its shuttle that could carry as many as seven passengers to low Earth orbit.

There was no problem with the landing gear, unlike the glide test four years ago when the left wheel never lowered and the Dream Chaser skidded off the runway. Orbital ATK's capsule - known as Cygnus - is then created to burn up in the Earth's atmosphere once it leaves the station, while SpaceX's Dragon cargo capsule can survive the descent to Earth, using parachutes to land in the ocean. It will lift off atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 booster from Cape Canaveral, and will touch down on the runway at the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The company won a Commercial Resupply Services 2 contract from NASA in 2016 to transport cargo to and from the ISS. The plan is for the Dream Chaser to fly a minimum of six missions to the ISS by 2024, says NASA. The Dream Chaser from Sierra Nevada offers more reliable landings than the other two now offer.

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