An atmospheric test article of Sierra Nevada Corp.’s Dream Chaser spaceship made a successful runway landing Saturday at Edwards Air Force Base in California after a glide test flight performed to verify the craft’s handling qualities and guidance systems before future resupply missions to the International Space Station.
Sierra Nevada and United Launch Alliance have announced the most powerful version of the Atlas 5 rocket, with five strap-on boosters and a twin-engine upper stage, will send the first two Dream Chaser cargo missions to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral in 2020 and 2021, a schedule that still must be confirmed by NASA.
An atmospheric test model of Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser spacecraft, a cargo carrier for the International Space Station that will take off on top of an Atlas 5 rocket and land on a runway, is undergoing braking and steering checks in California ahead of a flight test later this year, the company said Monday.
A year after a launch mishap left Orbital ATK’s Cygnus supply ship without a ride to the International Space Station, company officials say the cargo delivery system is on the verge of a comeback, thanks to deals with United Launch Alliance and a decision to redesign its Antares booster with new rocket engines.
NASA has put off selecting the winners in a new competition for deals to resupply the International Space Station, prompting the agency to order two more commercial resupply missions from Orbital ATK to satisfy the orbiting lab’s cargo needs into early 2018, bringing the company’s total contract to 10 logistics flights.