A privately owned prototype space plane aced its debut test flight in California but was damaged after landing when a wheel did not drop down, developer Sierra Nevada Corp. said on Tuesday.
The Dream Chaser is one of three space taxis under development in partnership with NASA to fly astronauts to the International Space Station following the retirement of the space shuttles in 2011. While competitors Space Exploration Technologies – a privately owned firm also known as SpaceX – and Boeing are working on seven-person capsules that return to Earth via parachutes, Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser resembles a miniature space shuttle with wings to glide down for a runway landing.
The company took a significant step toward proving Dream Chaser can fly with its first unmanned glide test at Edwards Air Force Base in Mojave, Calif., on Saturday, Sierra Nevada Vice President Mark Sirangelo told reporters on a conference call.
For the complete story by Irene Klotz of Reuters, click here.