Shut­tle-like Dream Chaser space­craft makes glide test flight

Manteca Bulletin - - Local/State -

ED­WARDS AIR FORCE BASE (AP) — A test ver­sion of the Dream Chaser, a re­us­able space­craft that re­sem­bles a small space shut­tle, made a suc­cess­ful free flight and land­ing in Cal­i­for­nia af­ter be­ing hoisted by he­li­copter high over the Mo­jave Desert, of­fi­cials of Sierra Ne­vada Corp. said Mon­day.

The flight Satur­day moved the pro­gram closer to achiev­ing un­manned cargo flights to the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion and back to Earth un­der a NASA con­tract, pos­si­bly as soon as 2020.

Slung be­low the he­li­copter on a 200-foot (61-me­ter) tether, the full-scale at­mo­spheric test ver­sion of the Dream Chaser was hoisted to an al­ti­tude of 12,324 feet (3,756 me­ters) and re­leased.

The craft then made a com­pletely au­ton­o­mous de­scent and land­ing, rolling out about 4,200 feet on an Ed­wards Air Force Base run­way in the high desert north of Los An­ge­les.

The free flight lasted 60 sec­onds, reach­ing a max­i­mum speed of 330 mph (531 kph) and touch­ing down at the tar­geted spot on the run­way at a speed of 191 mph (307 kph). In the mid­dle of the flight it per­formed a ma­neu­ver, turn­ing left and right and then com­ing back to the cen­ter­line.

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