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Dream Chaser space glider passes big test

Dream Chaser landing
Sierra Nevada Corp.’s prototype Dream Chaser space plane lands at Edwards Air Force Base in California after a drop test. (NASA Photo via Twitter)

Sierra Nevada Corp. said its Dream Chaser prototype space plane glided to a successful landing in California’s Mojave Desert today after being dropped from a helicopter.

Today’s uncrewed test at Edwards Air Force Base marked the first time the Dream Chaser flew freely through the air since 2013. That earlier flight was also judged successful, but the landing gear failed to deploy correctly, which caused the winged vehicle to skid off the runway and crash.

Over the years that followed, SNC repaired and upgraded the aerodynamic test vehicle in preparation for a new series of flight tests at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, within Edwards’ property.

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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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