Writes N 1, the mini-Shuttle Dream Chaser was developed on the basis of the project of the NASA HL-20 (the design of which is created using best practices for the Soviet apparatus BOR-4).
Initially, Sierra Nevada was competing with Boeing and SpaceX for NASA contracts for the development of manned spacecraft to deliver crews to the ISS, but the project has not reached the final of the competition. Subsequently, the company's engineers have redesigned the project, and in January of last year, SNC won a contract to NASA to deliver cargo to the ISS.
The total mass of the ship is about 20 tons and carrying capacity for delivery of cargo to the ISS is estimated at about 5.5 tons. Unlike the Shuttle, running the Dream Chaser will not be installed on the side and top of the rocket (launches plan to use the Atlas V rocket). This will help to eliminate the risk of damage to the ship design elements of the media — for this reason, disaster struck space Shuttle Columbia in 2003.
During the trials, which took place on 11 November, the ship lifted on a 60 metre rope to a height of about three kilometers, and then released. After that, the Shuttle made a free flight under the control of the onboard computer and successfully landed at Edwards AFB (California). The first orbital flight mini-Shuttle is scheduled for 2020. The message about the successful test published in the microblog of the company Twitter.
SNC is proud to announce the Dream Chaser® spacecraft had a successful free-flight test today @EdwardsAFB, with support of @NASAArmstrong. The Dream Chaser had a beautiful flight and landing! pic.twitter.com/lAn0n7FPsg— Sierra Nevada Corp (@SierraNevCorp) November 12, 2017
The first flight tests of the Dream Chaser were held in October 2013. Then the ship lifted into the air and released, but during the landing the left landing gear of the ship is not released, and it was damaged. Testing was resumed in September of this year.
Sierra Nevada won the contract from NASA in 2016. First flight of Dream Chaser is scheduled for 2020 to 2024, according to the terms of the agreement, it is expected at least six flights. The contracts to send cargo to the ISS and back have SpaceX Elon musk. The same company plans to send into orbit, American astronauts will now travel to the station by the Russian "Unions" from the cosmodrome Baikonur.