Oct 302013

Sierra Nevada Corp’s “Dream Chaser,” a copy of the NASA-Langley HL-20 configuration, had its first test flight on October 26. Dropped from a helicopter, the glide to the Edwards Air Force Base runway apparently went smoothly… except that the left main landing gear failed to deploy. The vehicle skidded off the runway and suffered damage, but Sierra Nevada says that it can be repaired.

This particualr vehicle is not meant to be orbital, just an atmospheric test craft. I don’t know if it’s *almost* the final vehicle, kind of like a smaller version of the Space Shuttle Enterprise, or if it’s just an aerodynamically identical testbed with a few of the systems. The second airframe is meant to be orbital, to fly into space atop an Atlas V.


[youtube QgdFotAkUEU]

 Posted by at 2:24 am
  • Cthell

    I guess that’s one of the “fringe benefits” of a lifting body design – the ruggedness that comes from having big, chunky structural members (obviously, they’re weight optimised, but still more resilient than the equivalent thin wing spar). If my memory serves, one of the NASA lifting bodies also had a nasty landing accident (footage used in the opening of the 6 million dollar man?) and was still able to be rebuilt (or am I getting the different NASA lifiting bodies confused?).

    On a side note, it’s good to see that the fluffy dice were successfully installed for the flight

  • Lifting Body

    They should have shown the entire crash sequence. It it’s survivable it would demonstrate the survivability of the design. A definite plus for a commercial crew vehicle.