Following a path taken in 1977 by the Space Shuttle Enterprise which saw the orbiter’s first ever free fly flight over NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Ca. Sierra Nevada Corporation is preparing to embark on a series of tests of its own Dream Chaser space plane as a part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
NASA Commercial Crew Update
Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) Space Systems currently is shipping its Dream Chaser engineering test article from the company’s facility in Louisville, Colo., to NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif., where it will begin its flight test program in collaboration with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP). The five-state journey that began the morning of Saturday, May 11, will take approximately four days to complete.
The testing at Dryden will include tow, captive-carry and free-flight tests of the Dream Chaser. A truck will tow the vehicle down a runway to validate performance of the nose strut, brakes and tires. The captive-carry flights will further examine the loads the vehicle will encounter during flight and test the performance and flutter of the vehicle up to release from an Erickson Skycrane helicopter. The free-flight tests are designed to validate the Dream Chaser’s aerodynamics as well as test the flight control surfaces to verify flight characteristics for approach, flare and landing.