Sierra Nevada Corp tests Dream Chaser spacecraft

Pablo Tucker
November 13, 2017

Dream Chaser made a landing at a US air force base Edwards, which is located in the Mojave desert in California.

During the last two years, SNC has worked to reconfigure the Dream Chaser to make it cargo-only spacecraft, after losing out as entrants in Nasa's commercial crew competition to build spacecraft that would see humans travel to low-Earth orbit and back.


Two other companies, SpaceX and Orbital ATK, will use their own spacecraft to fly delivery missions for NASA as part of the CRS-2 program. The company expects to start cargo missions sometime in 2020. 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.

Originally, Sierra Nevada had hoped its Dream Chaser would carry astronauts, and not just cargo, to the ISS.


Prototype spacecraft Dream Chaser has successfully completed its first glide test flight nearly two years after securing a multi-billion dollar contract from Nasa. The device was tested in free flight mode and landing. Since then, Sierra Nevada has been modifying the Dream Chaser to just carry cargo.

The Dream Chaser last flew in 2013, but a problem with its left landing gear meant it had a hard touchdown, which caused the plane to skid off the runway and sustain minor damage. Vehicle managed to perform descent maneuver and deployed landing gear.


The success of the flight test likely marks the last milestone for a $227.5 million contract awarded to Sierra Nevada in 2012 for NASA's Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) program.

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