Dream Chaser Spacecraft To Conduct Missions To The ISS

The Dream Chaser rolls out on Runway 22L at Edwards Air Force Base California. Credit NASA

SNC is one of the three private companies, which include Oribtal ATK and SpaceX, selected by the U.S. space agency to transport supplies to the International Space Station for the next eight years in a deal potentially worth 14 billion USA dollars (£10bn).

Dream Chaser is a space apparatus which can be used many times. Ten years into development, the spacecraft completed a successful free-flight drop test in the Mojave Desert in November 2017.

The spacecraft is still in its prototype phase so any data gathered from the test will help influence the final design of Dream Chaser.

The craft was made by the Sierra Nevada Corporation and was tested at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in California.

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Dream Chaser made a landing at a USA air force base Edwards, which is located in the Mojave desert in California.

The United States has relied on private contracts as well as the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos to get its astronauts and supplies to the ISS since the Space Shuttle was taken out of service in 2011.

Sierra Nevada Corporation is developing the Dream Chaser for the last ten years, together with NASA, the latter then singled out to develop more than 125 million dollars. Sierra Nevada filed a protest, but the government's General Accounting Office upheld the decision. The Dream Chaser, however, which is meant to launch on top of an Atlas V rocket, glides down to Earth like a plane after reentering the atmosphere, landing horizontally on a runway. The plan is for the Dream Chaser to fly a minimum of six missions to the ISS by 2024, says NASA. Boeing, Orbital ATK, and SpaceX have also designed or flown spacecraft, but Sierra Nevada's spaceplane stands out in obvious contrast to the other companies' capsule designs. "The testing will validate the aerodynamic properties, flight software and control system performance of the Dream Chaser".

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