Sierra Nevada Corporation after glide test flight of Dream Chaser space plane

Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser Space Plane Aces Free Flight Drop Test

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.

11 that its Dream Chaser test article successfully performed a glide flight at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

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.

Below, photos and renderings of the new spacecraft. Sierra Nevada representatives announced on Twitter Saturday. The company says it will release more information about the test Monday afternoon.

"The lifting-body design gives Dream Chaser a higher lift-to-drag ratio and allows for greater cross-range landing capability, meaning the landing zone (or places where it can land) is greatly increased", said the company.

The Dream Chaser is 30 feet (9 meters) long, about one quarter the length of a space shuttle. Both SpaceX and Orbital ATK developed wingless cargo capsules that launch to the station on top of the companies' rockets. It's an important milestone in the Dream Chaser's development, as Sierra Nevada readies the plane for spaceflight. The company won a Commercial Resupply Services 2 contract from NASA in 2016 to transport cargo to and from the ISS. The spacecraft will launch on Atlas V rockets built by the United Launch Alliance and make runway landings. "The testing will validate the aerodynamic properties, flight software and control system performance of the Dream Chaser".



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