The Dream Chaser had a handsome flight and landing!
For now, Sierra Nevada Corporation is working on the cargo version of Dream Chaser to serve a NASA Commercial Resupply Services 2 contract it received in 2016. But a year ago, NASA awarded a second round of contracts, in order to cover cargo shipments to the ISS from 2019 through 2024.
Yesterday, November 12, in the United States of America private Corporation Sierra Nevada told the public about the successful completion of the tests reusable spaceship Dream Chaser.
A free-flight test was performed at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in California.The Dream Chaser is in the development, and once the spacecraft is complete, it will send cargo to the International Space Station. The company says it will release more information about the test Monday afternoon.
The spacecraft is still in its prototype phase so any data gathered from the test will help influence the final design of Dream Chaser. NASA said the 2017 free-flight test helped prepare the spacecraft for service under the program in which Dream Chaser, along with SpaceX's Dragon and Orbital ATK's Cygnus cargo ships, will service the ISS through at least 2024. The craft glided to a landing Saturday Nov. 12, 2017 at Edwards Air Force Base.
Sirangelo compared the tests with this vehicle to those flown by NASA in 1977 of the space shuttle orbiter Enterprise. Those missions will land at Kennedy Space Center. He stressed that the vehicle's flight was completely autonomous, not like a UAV where humans are controlling it. Sirangelo noted that the flight profile included commands for the vehicle to turn left and then right, then return to the centerline during descent. It's also designed with a "lifting body" meaning it can land nearly anywhere.
The Dream Chaser is just one of the commercially built spacecraft NASA has arranged to take over supplying the International Space Station.
SNC hopes to fly the first Dream Chaser to the ISS as early as 2020. Unlike other spacecraft - the capsules that look like the vehicles that flew in the Apollo-era - the Dream Chaser has wings and wheels that allow it to land on a runway.