Tuesday, 21 November, 2017

The Dream Chaser Spacecraft

Sierra Nevada Corp’s Dream Chaser lands on Edwards Air Force Base in California. Spacecraft went through preparations for flight at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center. Credits NASA  Carla Thomas The Dream Chaser Spacecraft
Kristine Garrett | 13 November, 2017, 20:45

In the long-awaited test, a helicopter carried the Dream Chaser engineering test article aloft and released it at an altitude of more than 3,000 meters, allowing the vehicle to glide to a runway landing at Edwards. Ten years into development, the spacecraft completed a successful free-flight drop test in the Mojave Desert in November 2017.

The uncrewed Dream Chaser made a smooth landing at Edwards Air Force Base during the free-flight test at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, NASA officials said in a statement.

Below, photos and renderings of the new spacecraft. Right now, two companies - SpaceX and Orbital ATK - hold contracts with NASA to periodically resupply the station through 2018. (5,500 kilograms) of cargo to the International Space Station. But past year, NASA awarded a second round of contracts, in order to cover cargo shipments to the ISS from 2019 through 2024. The Dream Chaser, however, which is meant to launch on top of an Atlas V rocket, glides down to Earth like a plane after reentering the atmosphere, landing horizontally on a runway.

Dream Chaser looks much like a miniature version of a NASA space shuttle. Sierra Nevada initially designed the Dream Chaser to carry astronauts, but the company has since reworked the design to be an autonomous cargo spaceplane. It was the second glide test for the project. The company promised to release more test flight details, images and video on Monday (Nov. 13).

The previous one took place in October 2013 but was marred by a landing gear failure, which caused the Dream Chaser ETA to skid off the runway.

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