Thursday, July 10, 2014





Mini space shuttle skids off runway in test flight


October 29. 2013 6:40PM
Associated Press



Story Tools
PrintPrint | E-MailEMail | SaveSave | Hear Generate QR Code QR
Send to Kindle


(AP) A new, smaller version of NASA's space shuttle is recuperating from a rough first landing.


The Dream Chaser space plane is being designed by Sierra Nevada Corp. It's vying to carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station in four or five more years.


The Nevada-based company tested a full-scale model at Edwards Air Force Base in California on Saturday. A helicopter dropped the unmanned craft from 12,500 feet in a first free flight reminiscent of NASA's drop tests of the shuttle prototype Enterprise in the 1970s.


Everything worked well for the automated Dream Chaser model until the end, when the left landing gear deployed too late and the test vehicle skidded off the runway.


Company space systems chief Mark Sirangelo said Tuesday that damage was minor. The left gear was still attached and the tire wasn't even shredded, he said. The crew cabin area was unscathed astronauts would have been uninjured, he said. The flight computers never stopped working, and nothing critical was damaged.


Sirangelo stressed that the minute-long test flight was a success despite the ending.


He said the mishap is likely due to mechanical failure; an investigation is underway. He said it shouldn't hold up plans for a piloted landing test next year. The landing gear is derived from F-5 fighter planes and not the same type that will be used in space.


The test vehicle will be repaired and may fly again, Sirangelo told reporters during a teleconference.


Sierra Nevada one of several U.S. companies hoping to carry NASA astronauts into orbit plans the first orbital flight demo of Dream Chaser in 2016 and the first crewed orbital mission in 2017.


NASA already is relying on private industry to ship cargo to the space station, a vacancy created by the retirement of the space shuttles in 2011. Until American companies provide a safe spaceship for crews, NASA will continue to fly its astronauts on Russian Soyuz capsules for hefty prices.


___


Online:


Sierra Nevada: http://www.sncspace.com/ss_space_exploration.php


Associated Press


Comments
comments powered by Disqus Commenting Guidelines
Poll
Mortgage Minute


Search for New & Used Cars

Make 
Model
 
Used New All
 

Search Times Leader Classifieds to find just the home you want!

Search Times Leader Classifieds to find just what you need!

Search Pet Classifieds
Dogs Cats Other Animals



Social Media/RSS
Times Leader on Twitter
Times Leader on Youtube
Times Leader on Google+
The Times Leader on Tumblr
The Times Leader on Pinterest
Times Leader RSS Feeds