If the Sierra Nevada goes to meet supply missions for the International space station and the United Nations, to prove that its Dream Chaser spacecraft is ready to fly… and it simply took an enormous step in this direction. the company has said a glide test flight completed the Dream Chaser on Nov 11th, Launched from a helicopter and landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Notably, it’s this vehicle’s 1st flight in four years, and its 1st successful landing demonstration — once this ship last flew in 2013, stuck landing gear forced a rough touchdown.
SNC is proud to announce the Dream Chaser® spacecraft had a successful free-flight test today @EdwardsAFB, with support of @NASAArmstrong. The Dream Chaser had a beautiful flight and landing! pic.twitter.com/lAn0n7FPsg
— Sierra Nevada Corp (@SierraNevCorp) November 12, 2017
Dream Chaser was carrying the same space-grade avionics that it will use for ISS missions, Sierra Nevada said. a lot of info regarding the flight should follow on Nov 13th.
The successful flight is not as dramatic as a full-fledged mission launching atop a rocket (those are not expected to start until 2019), but it is a crucial milestone all the same. It proves that, on a basic level, Dream Chaser will live up to its role as a reusable cargo ship. And while it will not be the only vehicle which will come safely to Earth, it will be particularly important for science. not like a capsule which may land in a remote area, Dream Chaser will quickly return experiments to waiting researchers.