Contracted Soviet-derived spaceplane Dream Chaser makes successful glide test

The Dream Chaser rolls out on Runway 22L at Edwards Air Force Base California. Credit NASA

The craft was tested using a free-flight method, meaning it was brought up and then released to glide down and land unmanned on a runway, which it did according to plan.

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. The device was tested in free flight mode and landing. Sierra Nevada's six-mission contract calls for Dream Chaser to start delivering cargo to the space station in 2019. Sierra Nevada filed a protest, but the government's General Accounting Office upheld the decision. Under that agreement, Sierra Nevada will fly at least six cargo delivery missions for NASA by 2024, agency officials said in the November 11 statement. (5,500 kilograms) of cargo to the International Space Station.

Yesterday, November 12, in the U.S. private Corporation Sierra Nevada told the public about the successful completion of the tests reusable spaceship Dream Chaser. 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. The spacecraft will launch on Atlas V rockets built by the United Launch Alliance and make runway landings. But in 2014, NASA didn't pick the Dream Chaser to do crewed flights to the ISS, going with SpaceX and Boeing's proposed vehicles instead. The Dream Chaser used an onboard autonomous guidance computer to line up with the runway and land, deploying two main landing gear wheels and a front nose skid.

This successful test, though, should keep Dream Chaser on track for a debut spaceflight within the next two years. Sierra Nevada plans to give more details on the test during a press conference this afternoon.

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