VIDEO: Dream Chaser flies smooth approach before crash landing


Posted: October 29, 2013

The Dream Chaser spacecraft being developed by Sierra Nevada Corp. in partnership with NASA flew its first approach and landing test Saturday, making a smooth descent after its release from a high-altitude helicopter before a crash landing on the runway at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

Sierra Nevada released a video of the flight late Monday, showing the Dream Chaser's flight and the failed deployment of the craft's left landing gear, but ending before touchdown on Runway 22L at Edwards, the same concrete runway used on numerous space shuttle landings.

With a wingspan of 22.9 feet and length of 29.5 feet, the Dream Chaser is about one-third the size of a space shuttle orbiter. Saturday's test was the first atmospheric flight of a full-scale Dream Chaser, which is designed to launch on top of an Atlas 5 rocket, maneuver in orbit and dock with the International Space Station, and return astronauts to Earth with a runway landing.

Saturday's flight did not have a pilot on-board, and Sierra Nevada says no one was injured in the mishap.

Sierra Nevada is one of three companies receiving NASA funding to develop commercial space taxis to carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station. The space agency hopes at least one of the firms will be ready for the job by 2017.

Credit: Sierra Nevada Corp.

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