Science

The Dream Chaser Spacecraft

The Dream Chaser Spacecraft

Sierra Nevada is developing Dream Chaser to deliver supplies to the space station for NASA under the agency's Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) program.

The Dream Chaser spacecraft made a "beautiful flight and landing" during a second glide test on Saturday, according to its producer, Sierra Nevada Corporation.

The spaceplane was carried to an altitude of 10,000 feet by a Boeing Vertol 234-UT heavy-lift helicopter, the civilian version of the Army's CH-47 Chinook, and then dropped to glide to the ground and land on a runway at Edwards Air Force Base. Sierra Nevada representatives announced on Twitter Saturday.

The flight was the second free flight of the Dream Chaser. Both SpaceX and Orbital ATK developed wingless cargo capsules that launch to the station on top of the companies' rockets. This landing seems to have gone much better, based on the pictures that Sierra Nevada released, though the company hasn't given much additional information. The spacecraft will launch on Atlas V rockets built by the United Launch Alliance and make runway landings.




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. But past year, NASA awarded a second round of contracts, in order to cover cargo shipments to the ISS from 2019 through 2024.

SNC's lifting-body spacecraft has been in development for more than a decade and is created to deliver up to 5,500kg of pressurised and unpressurised cargo to the space station.

The spacecraft is still in its prototype phase so any data gathered from the test will help influence the final design of Dream Chaser.


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