Sierra Nevada begins Dream Chaser flight testing

Speaking at the National Space Society’s International Space Development Conference (ISDC) in Washington on Friday, Mark Sirangelo of Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC)( indicated that initial flight tests of his company’s Dream Chaser vehicle would begin soon. “We begin our flight tests probably next week,” he said in remarks largely overshadowed by the excitement at the conference over the successful berthing of SpaceX’s Dragon with the ISS earlier in the morning. “It is amazing to me, having been working with this on paper for so long, that it is going to be starting.”

That comment was about the only advance notice of that test flight, which took place Tuesday in the Denver area. In the captive carry flight, the Dream Chaser was suspended from a helicopter flying around Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in the Denver suburb of Broomfield, not far from Sierra Nevada’s facilities in Louisville, Colorado. The company released little information about the test flight: a press release Tuesday from the company focused on several milestones SNC achieved in its CCDev-2 commercial crew award from NASA, including a “Captive Carry Flight Test Readiness Review”. The release, though, referred to the captive carry test in the future, saying it “will occur near the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Jefferson County, Colo.” Well, it has…

Also worth noting is that, in the past, SNC has talked about performing Dream Chaser test flights (captive carry and/or drop tests) with Virgin Galactic’s WhiteKnightTwo vehicle. This test was done instead with a helicopter; it’s not clear when (or if) they’ll transition to WK2, given that WK2 will presumably be busy in the coming months with SpaceShipTwo flight tests.

1 comment to Sierra Nevada begins Dream Chaser flight testing

  • Coastal Ron

    SNC is making good progress. Doing drop tests is a very visible sign that they have serious hardware, and they are making good progress.

    I hope they end up being one of the CCiCap winners (and that there are more than one winner).

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