Dream Chaser Space Plane Aces Glide Test

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The crewless Dream Chaser lands at Edwards Air Force Base in California on Saturday after a profitable check flight.

Credit
NASA/Sierra Nevada Corporation

If you miss NASA’s area shuttles, you may just like the Dream Chaser.

The compact area aircraft carries no crew, however will transport cargo to the International Space Station within the years forward and conduct different missions in orbit across the Earth. On Saturday, the automobile accomplished an vital milestone in its growth.

A helicopter lifted Dream Chaser greater than 2.three miles off the bottom, then dropped it. Over the course of 1 minute, the craft accelerated to 330 miles per hour, made a few turns and glided 10 miles to a runway at Edwards Air Force Base in California. It touched down at a velocity of 191 miles per hour, rolling four,200 toes earlier than coming to a cease.

“The vehicle is in perfect shape, no issues,” Mark N. Sirangelo, the top of Sierra Nevada Space Systems, the maker of the Dream Chaser, mentioned in an interview.

Mr. Sirangelo mentioned he thought no extra glide checks can be wanted. If NASA agrees, the very subsequent flight of the Dream Chaser may be a return from orbit two or three years from now on the finish of a mission taking cargo to and from the area station. It is to land on the identical runway on the Kennedy Space Center in Florida that the area shuttles as soon as used.

Photo

A helicopter lifted the Dream Chaser greater than two miles off the bottom, then dropped it. In a minute, the spacecraft accelerated to 330 miles per hour, made a few turns and glided 10 miles to the runway.

Credit
NASA/Sierra Nevada Corporation

Last 12 months, NASA awarded Sierra Nevada a contract for not less than six cargo flights.

The Dream Chaser is an autonomous, self-flying spacecraft, and this iteration won’t carry any individuals. Saturday’s check demonstrated that the software program that guides the automobile labored as designed.

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There was no drawback with the touchdown gear, not like the glide check 4 years in the past when the left wheel by no means lowered and the Dream Chaser skidded off the runway. That mishap proved helpful looking back.

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