Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser Conducts Critical Flight Test

Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser Conducts Critical Flight Test

Over the course of one minute, the craft accelerated to 330 miles per hour, made a couple of turns and glided 10 miles to a runway at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

The unmanned craft is created to launch atop a rocket and shuttle cargo and supplies to the International Space Station, and then return to land on a runway with experiments and samples from the space station. The reusable craft is considered flawless for this task since it's smoother return will ensure the preservation of precious scientific specimens on board.

If you miss NASA's space shuttles, you might like the Dream Chaser.

The company is also developing a version of its shuttle that could carry as many as seven passengers to low Earth orbit.

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This successful test, though, should keep Dream Chaser on track for a debut spaceflight within the next two years.

Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser spaceplane safely glided to the Edwards Air Force Base runway Saturday after being dropped from a helicopter in a free-flight test. Sierra Nevada filed a protest, but the government's General Accounting Office upheld the decision.

The Dream Chaser is a fairly unique vehicle compared to the other two companies' spacecraft. The flight was a final funded milestone in the Space Act Agreement that Sierra Nevada Corporation has with NASA as part of the agency's Commercial Crew Integrated Capability effort. Sierra Nevada's six-mission contract calls for Dream Chaser to start delivering cargo to the space station in 2019. He says that the company will carry out the shipment of cargo to the ISS, for the first time this will be done in 2020.

The flight was the second free flight of the Dream Chaser. 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.

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