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Winged Dream Chaser Prepares for First Flight Test

Next stop, NASA's Dryden Research Center. Credit: SNC

Sierra Nevada Corporation’s winged Dream Chaser is bound for NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

Prior to Dream Chaser’s first autonomous free flight Approach and Landing Test (ALT), the craft will continue a series of tests, including runway tow, ground resonance, and a captive carry flight.

The flight tests will help Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) to determine the glide and landing characteristics of the Dream Chaser – the only lifting body vehicle funded under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Unique capability

In describing the upcoming test series former Space Shuttle astronaut, Jim Voss, SNC’s vice president of Space Exploration Systems said:

“This will be the first full scale flight test of the Dream Chaser lifting body and will demonstrate the unique capability of our spacecraft to land on a runway. Other flight tests will follow to validate the aerodynamic data used to control the vehicle in the atmosphere when it returns from space.”

The company looks ahead to future use of the Dream Chaser.

“We are one step closer to returning U.S. astronauts on a U.S. vehicle to the International Space Station…,” said Mark Sirangelo head of SNC’s Space Systems, headquartered in Louisville, Colorado.

By Leonard David

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