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Dream Chaser space plane takes to the air

Dream Chaser space plane
Sierra Nevada Corp.’s Dream Chaser prototype space plane is suspended beneath a helicopter during a captive-carry flight test at Edwards Air Force Base in California. (SNC via Facebook Live)

Sierra Nevada Corp.’s prototype Dream Chaser space plane, also known as the “mini-space shuttle,” successfully went through its first in-the-air test in four years today at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California’s Mojave Desert.

The uncrewed Dream Chaser stayed suspended beneath a Columbia 234-UT helicopter throughout today’s 101-minute flight.

The point of the captive-carry test was to collect data about the aerodynamics of the winged vehicle as well as the performance of Dream Chaser’s guidance and navigation control software.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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