Space

Dream Chaser spaceplane successfully completes glide flight and landing

Dream Chaser spaceplane succes...
The Dream Chaser has made its first successful glide test and landing since its infamous crash landing four years ago
The Dream Chaser has made its first successful glide test and landing since its infamous crash landing four years ago
View 21 Images
This test flight was reportedly a complete success
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This test flight was reportedly a complete success
The project is on track to launch officially into orbit in late 2019
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The project is on track to launch officially into orbit in late 2019
The Dream Chaser has made its first successful glide test and landing since its infamous crash landing four years ago
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The Dream Chaser has made its first successful glide test and landing since its infamous crash landing four years ago
The Dream Chaser gliding back to Earth
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The Dream Chaser gliding back to Earth
The Dream Chaser successfully landing on Saturday
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The Dream Chaser successfully landing on Saturday
The Dream Chaser successfully landing on Saturday
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The Dream Chaser successfully landing on Saturday
The Dream Chaser rolling onto the tarmac for the recent glide and landing test
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The Dream Chaser rolling onto the tarmac for the recent glide and landing test
The Dream Chaser rolling onto the tarmac for the recent glide and landing test
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The Dream Chaser rolling onto the tarmac for the recent glide and landing test
The Dream Chaser rolling onto the tarmac for the recent glide and landing test
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The Dream Chaser rolling onto the tarmac for the recent glide and landing test
The Dream Chaser gliding back to Earth
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The Dream Chaser gliding back to Earth
The spaceplane was hoisted into the air by a helicopter
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The spaceplane was hoisted into the air by a helicopter
The spaceplane was hoisted into the air by a helicopter
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The spaceplane was hoisted into the air by a helicopter
The spaceplane was hoisted into the air by a helicopter
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The spaceplane was hoisted into the air by a helicopter
The spaceplane was hoisted into the air by a helicopter
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The spaceplane was hoisted into the air by a helicopter
The impressive craft on the tarmac
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The impressive craft on the tarmac
The impressive craft on the tarmac
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The impressive craft on the tarmac
The impressive craft on the tarmac
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The impressive craft on the tarmac
The impressive craft on the tarmac
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The impressive craft on the tarmac
The test was a complete success
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The test was a complete success
The test was a complete success
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The test was a complete success
The test was a complete success
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The test was a complete success
View gallery - 21 images

Updated gallery with official photographs from Saturday's flight test.
Four years ago, the Dream Chaser's first glide and landing test ended in a crash after its landing gear failed to deploy correctly. Since then, the reusable spaceplane has undergone a complete refurbishment and finally achieved its first successful free-flight and landing on Saturday.

After a recent captive carry test, the Dream Chaser's first successful glide flight and landing marks a significant milestone for the project after a rocky few years of development. Sierra Nevada Corp (SNC) tweeted enthusiastically on Saturday, "The Dream Chaser had a beautiful flight and landing!" following the successful free-flight test carried out on November 11, at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards, California.

The Dream Chaser gliding back to Earth
The Dream Chaser gliding back to Earth

The Dream Chaser is being developed under one of three contracts awarded by NASA in 2016 to resupply the International Space Station (ISS) from 2019 onwards. Unlike the other two capsule-based programs, the Dream Chaser is the only spacecraft capable of landing on a runway, meaning it can not only arrive with ISS research samples at any large-scale commercial airport in the world, but it will also be able to return more precious and fragile research samples that might be otherwise damaged by alternative re-entry methods.

This test flight was reportedly a complete success
This test flight was reportedly a complete success

"The Dream Chaser flight test demonstrated excellent performance of the spacecraft's aerodynamic design and the data shows that we are firmly on the path for safe, reliable orbital flight," says Mark Sirangelo, corporate vice president of SNC's Space System business area.

The Dream Chaser is currently on target to begin commercial orbital delivery missions to the ISS beginning in 2020.

Source: NASA / SNC Twitter

View gallery - 21 images
5 comments
Sean-Anthony Sutherland
Surprise it didn't get sucked through a wormhole.
Anne Ominous
This vehicle, except for a very few fine details, looks almost exactly in size and shape like the full-size mock-up of a "lifting body" re-entry vehicle I toured as a small child IN THE 1960s.
Why did it take 50+ years to put this in action? It can't be the thermal tiles, because those were on the Shuttle less than 20 years later.
CraigAllenCorson
I have serious doubts regarding commercial airports allowing this thing to land and let that nose gear tear up their runway. Anne Ominous (great name, BTW) It probably has to do with funding, that is, the lack thereof. NASA is poor now; it's not like it was during Apollo.
Tom Lee Mullins
It reminds me of the lifting body planes that NASA worked on years ago. I am glad someone is using the design. I think it is really neat looking. Perhaps the return of the space shuttle?
Username
If it doesn't crash we won't get a bionic man!