The Dream Chaser Spacecraft

Dream Chaser landing

SNC's lifting-body spacecraft has been in development for more than a decade and is created to deliver up to 5,500kg of pressurised and unpressurised cargo to the space station. In that flight, the lifting-body vehicle was released from a helicopter at an altitude of about 3,750 meters and glided to a runway landing 60 seconds later, reaching a top speed of 530 kilometers per hour during its descent.

Sierra Nevada Corporation said the test was a success and pledged to give more details on Monday.

Resembling a mini Space Shuttle, the Dream Chaser will soon be used to send cargo to and from the International Space Station as part of NASA's Commercial Cargo Program. NASA funded several companies, including SNC, through a succession of development activities in the first half of the decade, one of which was the Commercial Crew Integrated Capabilities (CCiCAP) program. The plan is for the Dream Chaser to fly a minimum of six missions to the ISS by 2024, says NASA. Orbital ATK's most recent Cygnus launch took place yesterday.

SNC then chose to focus on cargo instead of crew.

With the company now developing a cargo version only at this time, those flights are no longer needed. "The vehicle landed safely, and there were absolutely no issues", Mark Sirangelo, the head of Sierra Nevada Corp's Space Systems Division, said in an interview. Photo credit: SNC website.

North Korean soldier defects to the South at Joint Security Area: JCS
About 30,000 North Koreans have defected to South Korea since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, but most travel through China. Command soldiers traded gunfire after a Soviet citizen defected by sprinting to the South Korean sector of the truce village.

In previous tests in 2017, a helicopter carried the Dream Chaser aloft but did not release it. Enterprise also was not created to fly in space, but only for atmospheric tests.

Engineers work to safe Dream Chaser after a successful runway landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Those missions will land at Kennedy Space Center. That includes thermal protection tiles, flight software, redundant navigation sensors, and guidance and control systems for reentry and landing. It's also designed with a "lifting body" meaning it can land nearly anywhere. The first launch of the laboratory version of the vehicle is expected in 2021, Sirangelo said, pointing out that the company has received an "overwhelming" response to its call for science proposals issued in September at the International Astronautical Congress in Australia.

The company performed a tow test on the vehicle a little bit over two months before the free-flight test.

SNC hopes to fly the first Dream Chaser to the ISS as early as 2020.

During this testing period, Sierra Nevada and NASA aren't actually working with a Dream Chaser spacecraft-instead, they're working with a fixed-wing version.

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