Dream Chaser completes profitable glide take a look at

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Derek Richardson

November 14th, 2017

Sierra Nevada Corporation's Dream Chaser lands on a runway at Edwards Air Force Base in California after a successful free-flight test. Photo Credit: Carla Thomas / NASA

Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser lands on a runway at Edwards Air Force Base in California after a profitable free-flight take a look at. Photo Credit: Carla Thomas / NASA

Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser spaceplane take a look at article efficiently carried out a free-flight take a look at at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California. The spacecraft is being developed to ship cargo to the International Space Station.

A twin-rotor helicopter was used to lift the Dream Chaser test article off the ground for the free-flight test. Photo Credit: NASA

A Columbia Helicopters Model 234-UT Chinook was used to elevate the Dream Chaser take a look at article off the bottom for the free-flight take a look at. Photo Credit: NASA

The Nov. 11, 2017, automated take a look at went as deliberate, in line with an SNC badertion. The flight occurred 4 years after the primary glide take a look at, which noticed the otherwise-perfect flight finish with the craft flipping over upon touchdown when the left touchdown gear did not deploy.

According to NASA, the 2017 take a look at verified and validated the efficiency of the Dream Chaser within the remaining moments of touchdown. The car met anticipated fashions for a future return from the house station.

“The Dream Chaser flight test demonstrated excellent performance of the spacecraft’s aerodynamic design and the data shows that we are firmly on the path for safe, reliable orbital flight,” Mark Sirangelo, company vp of SNC’s Space System enterprise space, stated in a Nov. 13 press launch.

Dream Chaser was lifted by a helicopter and flown greater than 10,00zero ft (three,00zero meters) in altitude earlier than being dropped. It flew the identical remaining strategy and touchdown profile it might had been it getting back from the ISS. According to SNC, the take a look at article included orbital car avionics and flight software program for the primary time to offer orbital car design validation.

“I’m so proud of the Dream Chaser team for their continued excellence,” stated SNC CEO Fatih Ozmen in a press release. “This spacecraft is the future and has the ability to change the way humans interact with space, and I couldn’t be happier with SNC’s dedicated team and the results of the test.”

SNC introduced Dream Chaser to the Armstrong Flight Research Center in January 2017 in preparation for the free-flight take a look at. It has been occupying the identical hangar that NASA’s Space Shuttle Enterprise used whereas it was present process Approach and Landing Tests within the late 1970s.

The free-flight take a look at got here simply over two months after the corporate carried out a tow take a look at on the car on Aug. 29. This concerned attaching Dream Chaser to a pickup truck that will pull it some 60 mph (about 95 km/h). Once on top of things, the spacecraft was launched and its onboard programs slowed the car to a cease.

Engineers work to safe Dream Chaser after a successful runway landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Photo Credit: NASA

Engineers work to secure Dream Chaser after a profitable runway touchdown at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Photo Credit: NASA

A day after the tow take a look at, a captive carry take a look at was carried out. This was primarily a dry run for the glide take a look at in an effort to achieve information and calibrate devices. Just just like the free-flight take a look at, Dream Chaser was suspended beneath a twin-rotor helicopter and flown by way of quite a few maneuvers to collect data.

This specific glide take a look at was really a part of an area act settlement below NASA’s Commercial Crew Program when SNC was competing with Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon to win a contract to ship people to the ISS. In a 2014 downselect from three suppliers to 2, Dream Chaser was not chosen.

However, in 2016, the house company awarded SNC a contract below the Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) program. NASA stated the 2017 free-flight take a look at helped put together the spacecraft for service below this system during which Dream Chaser, together with SpaceX’s Dragon and Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo ships, will service the ISS by way of no less than 2024. The latter two have been supplying the outpost since 2012 and 2014 respectively.

SNC hopes to fly the primary Dream Chaser to the ISS as early as 2020. Under the CRS-2 contract, SNC, in addition to the opposite corporations, would ship no less than six cargo missions to the outpost.

The Dream Chaser Cargo System will launch atop an Atlas V rocket. It will sport an expandable cargo module on the rear that can function photo voltaic panels and a docking mechanism.

In whole, the spacecraft is anticipate to have the ability to ship greater than 12,00zero kilos (5,00zero kilograms) of pressurized and unpressurized cargo to the ISS.

“The Dream Chaser spacecraft today [Nov. 11, 2017] has proven its atmospheric flight performance along with its return and landing capability,” Sirangelo stated. “This advances our program and the Dream Chaser towards orbital flight, while meeting the final milestone for our NASA CCiCap [Commercial Crew integrated Capability] agreement and supporting milestone 5 of the CRS-2 contract.”

Video courtesy of Sierra Nevada Corporation

 

Tagged: Armstrong Flight Research Center CRS-2 Dream Chaser Lead Stories NASA Sierra Nevada Corporation

Derek Richardson

Derek Richardson has a level in mbad media, with an emphasis in up to date journalism, from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. While at Washburn, he was the managing editor of the scholar run newspaper, the Washburn Review. He additionally has a weblog in regards to the International Space Station, referred to as Orbital Velocity. He met with members of the SpaceFlight Insider staff in the course of the flight of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 551 rocket with the MUOS-Four satellite tv for pc. Richardson joined our staff shortly thereafter.

His ardour for house ignited when he watched Space Shuttle Discovery launch into house Oct. 29, 1998. Today, this fervor has accelerated towards orbit and exhibits no indicators of slowing down. After dabbling in math and engineering programs in faculty, he quickly realized his true calling was speaking to others about house. Since becoming a member of SpaceFlight Insider in 2015, Richardson has labored to extend the standard of our content material, ultimately turning into our managing editor. @TheSpaceAuthor

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