NASA-contracted Soviet-derived spaceplane Dream Chaser makes successful glide test (PHOTOS)

NASA-contracted Soviet-derived spaceplane Dream Chaser makes successful glide test (PHOTOS)
The Dream Chaser spacecraft made a “beautiful flight and landing” during a second glide test on Saturday, according to its producer, Sierra Nevada Corporation. The cargo-carrying spaceplane is expected to supply the ISS for NASA.

The engineering test article (ETA) was lifted by a helicopter sky-crane and released from an altitude of over 3,000 meters, Space News reported. It glided towards the Edwards Air Force Base in California and successfully landed.

Sierra Nevada Corporation said the test was a success and pledged to give more details on Monday. It was the second glide test for the project. 

The previous one took place in October 2013 but was marred by a landing gear failure, which caused the Dream Chaser ETA to skid off the runway.

Dream Chaser is a derivative project from NASA’s 1990s HL-20 Launch System, which in turn was inspired by the Soviet Spiral program, a series of spacecraft developed for space warfare and orbital-glide bombing since the late 1960s. The Soviet program included several successful space tests, including a scaled-down version of the envisioned spacecraft, the BOR-4, launched in 1982.

READ MORE: UN’s first space mission will fly ‘Dream Chasers’ into orbit by 2021

A future robotic freighter version, the Dream Chaser Cargo System, won a NASA Commercial Resupply Services 2 contract in 2016. The spacecraft is slated to make its maiden flight in 2020 with a minimum of six supply runs to the International Space Station through to 2024.