The Dream Chaser Spacecraft

The Dream Chaser Spacecraft

11 that its Dream Chaser test article successfully performed a glide flight at Edwards Air Force Base in California. 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.

Sierra Nevada Corporation confirmed that test flight was finished with success.

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". The spacecraft was tethered to a heavy-duty helicopter with a 200-foot cable and released at an altitude of approximately 10,000 feet.

Sierra Nevada Corporation is developing the Dream Chaser for the last ten years, together with NASA, the latter then singled out to develop more than 125 million dollars.

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"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. Sierra Nevada representatives announced on Twitter Saturday.

Since then, they've had an on-again off-again relationship with NASA. The Soviet program included several successful space tests, including a scaled-down version of the envisioned spacecraft, the BOR-4, launched in 1982. Sierra Nevada filed a protest, but the government's General Accounting Office upheld the decision.

SNC is one of the three private companies, which include Oribtal ATK and SpaceX, selected by the United States space agency to transport supplies to the International Space Station for the next eight years in a deal potentially worth 14 billion USA dollars (£10bn).

The first actual spaceflight of the Dream Chaser is planned for 2020. The spacecraft will launch on Atlas V rockets built by the United Launch Alliance and make runway landings.

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