Dream Chaser successfully completes glide flight

Dream Chaser landing

Dream Chaser successfully completes glide flight

The unmanned craft is created to launch atop a rocket and shuttle cargo and supplies to the International Space Station, and then return to land on a runway with experiments and samples from the space station.

SNC is planning to deliver cargo to the ISS in 2019 and is expected to fly "at least six cargo delivery missions to and from the space station by 2024".

The uncrewed Dream Chaser made a smooth landing at Edwards Air Force Base during the free-flight test at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, NASA officials said in a statement.

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.

Two other companies, SpaceX and Orbital ATK, will use their own spacecraft to fly delivery missions for NASA as part of the CRS-2 program. Sierra Nevada representatives announced on Twitter Saturday. Orbital ATK's capsule - known as Cygnus - is then created to burn up in the Earth's atmosphere once it leaves the station, while SpaceX's Dragon cargo capsule can survive the descent to Earth, using parachutes to land in the ocean.

"The lifting-body design gives Dream Chaser a higher lift-to-drag ratio and allows for greater cross-range landing capability, meaning the landing zone (or places where it can land) is greatly increased", said the company. Ten years into development, the spacecraft completed a successful free-flight drop test in the Mojave Desert in November 2017.

Sierra Nevada Corporation confirmed that test flight was finished with success.

The Dream Chaser suffered a setback in 2013 when the craft's landing gear did not completely deploy during a landing test and it skidded to a stop on the runway.

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