Dream Chaser space plane successfully completes test flight

Dream Chaser landing

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.

The Dream Chaser spacecraft made a "beautiful flight and landing" during a second glide test on Saturday, according to its producer, Sierra Nevada Corporation.

In previous tests in 2017, a helicopter carried the Dream Chaser aloft but did not release it.

NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center said in November 11 statement that the glide flight "verified and validated the performance of the Dream Chaser in the critical final approach and landing phase of flight".

Below, photos and renderings of the new spacecraft. Sierra Nevada was picked for that round, along with SpaceX and Orbital ATK again.

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Dream Chaser is aiming to deliver cargo to the ISS beginning in 2019 and will fly six cargo service missions to and from the space station until 2024.

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

"The Dream Chaser had a handsome flight and landing!"

Dream Chaser looks much like a miniature version of a NASA space shuttle.

Saturday's free-flight test "verified and validated the performance of the Dream Chaser in the critical final approach and landing phase of flight, meeting expected models for a future return from the International Space Station", Armstrong officials said, adding that more tests will likely follow. It was the second glide test for the project. The first one, back in 2013, didn't go all that smoothly: the vehicle's landing gears failed, causing the spaceplane to crash land and then skid off the runway.

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