Tags: dream | chaser | space | taxi
Image: Dream Chaser Space Taxi Soars on Test Flight, Skids after Landing

Dream Chaser Space Taxi Soars on Test Flight, Skids after Landing

Tuesday, 29 Oct 2013 02:59 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
A privately owned prototype space plane aced its debut test flight in California but was damaged after landing when a wheel did not drop down, developer Sierra Nevada Corp said on Tuesday.

The Dream Chaser is one of three space taxis under development in partnership with NASA to fly astronauts to the International Space Station following the retirement of the space shuttles in 2011.

While competitors Space Exploration Technologies - a privately owned firm also known as SpaceX - and Boeing are working on seven-person capsules that return to Earth via parachutes, Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser resembles a miniature space shuttle with wings to glide down for a runway landing.

The company took a significant step toward proving Dream Chaser can fly with its first unmanned glide test at Edwards Air Force Base in Mojave, California, on Saturday, Sierra Nevada Vice President Mark Sirangelo told reporters on a conference call.

A full-size Dream Chaser model was carried to an altitude of about 12,500 feet (3,810 meters) by a heavy-lift helicopter and released for a minute-long glide back to the runway.

"The first thing we needed to do was find out 'Does this shape, does this type of vehicle actually fly? Is it air-worthy?' Although all the computer modeling and the simulations told us it was, there had not been a lifting body of this type flown since the 1970s," Sirangelo said, referring to the test flight of NASA's prototype space shuttle Enterprise.

After being released, the autonomously controlled Dream Chaser successfully positioned itself for flight, flared its nose to slow for touchdown and settled on the runway, Sirangelo said.

However, one of the vehicle's three landing gears did not deploy, causing the plane to skid off the landing strip and end up in the sand, he said.

Engineers are still assessing how much damage was sustained. Sirangelo said the crew cabin and onboard computers were not damaged.

The landing gear used during the test flight is not the same equipment planned for the orbital vehicles, he added.

Ironically, the accident may speed up Sierra Nevada's planned piloted test flight next year. The vehicle had been scheduled for a second autonomous flight in California before being returned to its Colorado manufacturing facility to be outfitted for a piloted flight.

"We were fortunate enough to get almost all the data we needed on the very first flight. If that's the case, we may just move on to the next phase of the program," Sirangelo said.

NASA hopes to buy rides commercially to carry its astronauts to the space station by 2017.

 

 

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Report: Ice Cap Growing Though Gore Said It Would Be Gone

Sunday, 31 Aug 2014 22:52 PM

Despite Al Gore's prediction seven years ago that the polar ice cap would be completely melted by now, it is actually la . . .

Why Your Favorite Song Takes You Down Memory Lane

Saturday, 30 Aug 2014 21:08 PM

Music triggers different functions of the brain, which helps explain why listening to a song you like might be enjoyable . . .

Manatees May Soon Lose Endangered Species Status

Friday, 29 Aug 2014 06:54 AM

As they do whenever they visit Florida, Greg Groff and his young daughter stopped by the manatee pool at Miami Seaquariu . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved