The third transportation vehicle for NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 2 contracts for resupply efforts of the International Space Station has passed a major ground test milestone at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Completing a 60 mph (96.5 k/h) tow test earlier this month, Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser mini-spaceplane is now aiming for a series of Captive Carry flight tests suspended underneath a 234-UT lifting commercial helicopter.
Dream Chaser’s history:
After its initial reveal earlier this decade, Dream Chaser’s long-term prospects were relatively grim following NASA’s decision to pass on the spaceplane as part of the 2014 Commercial Crew Transportation Capabilities contracts for the International Space Station (ISS).
Despite that setback, Sierra Nevada Corporation pushed forward with development of Dream Chaser on its own and secured an unfunded Space Act Agreement (SSA) with NASA to continue cooperative development of Dream Chaser.
This SSA worked significantly to Sierra Nevada’s favor when NASA solicited bids for its Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contracts.
For CRS-2, Sierra Nevada submitted a proposal to use Dream Chaser in its uncrewed, cargo-only configuration.
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