Dream Chaser looks a lot like a miniature version of a NASA space shuttle.
Prototype spacecraft Dream Chaser has successfully completed its first glide test flight nearly two years after securing a multi-billion dollar contract from Nasa.
The engineering test article (ETA) was lifted by a helicopter sky-crane and released from an altitude of over 3,000 meters, Space News reported.
The company tweeted photos of the craft gliding to a landing at Edwards Air Force Base on Saturday. The company won a Commercial Resupply Services 2 contract from NASA in 2016 to transport cargo to and from the ISS. A company called SpaceDev resurrected the design, but after its founder left to form a space tourism company, SpaceDev was purchased by Sierra Nevada in 2008.
The success of the flight test likely marks the last milestone for a $227.5 million contract awarded to Sierra Nevada in 2012 for NASA's Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) program. The device was tested in free flight mode and landing.
Dream Chaser is a space apparatus which can be used many times. (5,500 kilograms) of cargo to the International Space Station. The unmanned test landing marks a major milestone for the Sierra Nevada Corporation, after a similar 2013 flight ended in a crash after the landing gear failed to deploy correctly. Future orbital vehicles will launch on Atlas V rockets from United Launch Alliance, and Lockheed Martin has partnered with Sierra Nevada to develop the composite structural shell of the orbital-class vehicles. Under that agreement, Sierra Nevada will fly at least six cargo delivery missions for NASA by 2024, agency officials said in the November 11 statement. "The testing will validate the aerodynamic properties, flight software and control system performance of the Dream Chaser".