An artist's conception of Sierra Nevada Corp.'s Dream Chaser spacecraft landing on a traditional runway. (Photo : Sierra Nevada Corp.)
Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), partner of NASA partner, is one of seven private companies developing commercial crew spacecrafts that may be capable of taking astronauts to Earth's low orbit as well as ferrying them to the International Space Station (ISS).
NASA recently issued a news release reporting on the development of one of the new spacecrafts SNC is developing.
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Called the Dream Chaser, NASA is reporting that nose landing gear tests for the orbital and sub-orbital spacecraft were conducted successfully in a "full-scale Dream Chaser engineering flight test vehicle."
Successfully passing the nose landing gear test is pivotal to ultimately proceed to a free flight of the Dream Chaser spacecraft, once it's fully developed of course. Next up, SNC will have to conduct and successfully complete the approach and landing test before proceeding with a full-scale flying test of the spaceship.
"This test marks a significant point in the development of the Dream Chaser orbital crew vehicle. As the last milestone before free flight of the Dream Chaser spacecraft, we are now preparing for the approach and landing tests to be flown later this year," said Jim Voss who is working directly in the Dream Chaser's development at SNC.
The nose landing gear test as well as the flight tests are part of the Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) agreement, part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program.
The Commercial Crew Program is a U.S. Government funded space technology development program aimed at inciting private companies to develop spacecrafts that can reach low Earth orbit. According to Charles Bolden, NASA intends to choose at least two of the developed spacecrafts to fly crew into space.
The Dream Chaser is designed to carry up to 7 astronauts and equipment into space and spend at least 210 days docked at the ISS. The vehicle returns to earth by landing on airplane runways
NASA said that all of its industry partners, SNC included, continuously meet the established milestones in developing commercial crew transportation capabilities under the CCDev program.
For more information about NASA's Commercial Crew Program, visit: