Dream Chaser Spacecraft
Passes Captive Carry Test
September 1, 2017
Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser underwent a captive carry test
at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center today at Edwards Air Force
Base. The test was part of the spacecraft’s Phase Two flight test
efforts to advance the orbiter closer to space flight, according to an
SNC press release.
A Columbia Helicopters Model 234-UT Chinook helicopter carried the Dream
Chaser over Edwards for about an hour. The goal was to reach an altitude
and flight conditions the spacecraft would experience before being
released on a free flight test, said company officials.
The Dream Chaser was delivered to Armstrong Jan. 25 to undergo several
months of testing at the center in preparation for its upcoming approach
and landing flight on one of Edwards AFB’s runways.
The Dream Chaser prepares for a
captive carry test Aug. 30 at Edwards AFB, California.
The test series is part of a
developmental space act agreement SNC has with NASA’s Commercial Crew
Program. The test campaign will help SNC validate the aerodynamic
properties, flight software and control system performance of the Dream
Chaser, according to NASA.
Archambault, SNC director of flight operations for the Dream Chaser
program, said, “We are very pleased with the results from the captive
carry test and everything we have seen points to a successful test with
useful data for the next round of testing.”
The captive carry test today is one of two planned at Edwards for this
year. Today’s test obtained data and evaluated both individual and
overall system performance, said the release. If the second captive
carry test is a success, it will clear the way for a free-flight test.
The Dream Chaser is also being prepared to deliver cargo to the
International Space Station under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 2
contract beginning in 2019. The data that SNC gathers from this test
campaign will help influence and inform the final design of the cargo
Dream Chaser, which will fly at least six cargo delivery missions to and
from the space station by 2024, according to NASA.