The aerospace company Sierra Nevada Corporation performed its first free-flight approach-and-landing test of the Dream Chaser spacecraft.
The space airplane successfully released from its carrier aircraft, an Erickson Air-Crane helicopter, as planned. Following release, the Dream Chaser spacecraft automated flight control system gently steered the vehicle to its intended glide slope.
The test vehicle adhered to the design flight trajectory throughout the flight profile. Less than a minute later, Dream Chaser smoothly flared and touched down on Edwards Air Force Base’s Runway 22L right on center line.
A problem: While there was an anomaly with the left landing gear deployment, the high-quality flight and telemetry data throughout all phases of the approach-and-landing test will allow SNC teams to continue to refine their spacecraft design.
The developer SNC and NASA Dryden are currently reviewing the data. As with any space flight test program, there will be anomalies that we can learn from, allowing us to improve our vehicle and accelerate our rate of progress.