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

13 November 2017

As Geek Wire notes, Sierra Nevada landed a different contract previous year to use the Dream Chaser as an unmanned vehicle to transfer cargo back and forth to the International Space Station.

The Dream Chaser prototype spacecraft passed a big test yesterday, gliding to a successful landing on a runway in the Mojave Desert after it was dropped from a helicopter.

NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center said in November 11 statement that the glide flight "verified and validated the performance of the Dream Chaser in the critical final approach and landing phase of flight". The device was tested in free flight mode and landing. In 2016, Sierra Nevada was awarded a new contract. The company promised to release more test flight details, images and video on Monday (Nov. 13).

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In 2014, the space agency announced it would only fund the Dream Chaser rival programs, SpaceX's Dragon and Boeing's CST-100 spacecraft, for Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap).

The Dream Chaser is 30 feet (9 meters) long, about one quarter the length of a space shuttle.

SNC is one of the three private companies, which include Oribtal ATK and SpaceX, selected by the United States space agency to transport supplies to the International Space Station for the next eight years in a deal potentially worth 14 billion USA dollars (£10bn).

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Two other companies, SpaceX and Orbital ATK, will use their own spacecraft to fly delivery missions for NASA as part of the CRS-2 program. 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.

Saturday's free-flight test "verified and validated the performance of the Dream Chaser in the critical final approach and landing phase of flight, meeting expected models for a future return from the International Space Station", Armstrong officials said, adding that more tests will likely follow.

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