Dream Chaser Drop Tests Due By End of March

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Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: Sierra Nevada)

Sierra Nevada Corporation is planning drop tests of its Dream Chaser shuttle at Edwards Air Force base no later than the end of March, Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Mark Sirangelo tells NASASpaceflight.com. The Colorado company will conduct the test in cooperation with NASA Dryden Flight Research Center.

The results of the test were fed into the planning for the final CCDev-2 (Commercial Crew Development) objective of a high-altitude free flight, or “drop-test”, involving the vehicle riding with a carrier airplane – depicted as White Knight 2 in documentation, but with a number of carrier options – before being released for a landing attempt at Dryden at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

My sources tell me that WhiteKnightTwo will not be used to drop Dream Chaser. Virgin Galactic nixed the idea, reportedly over concerns that use of the vehicle will delay flight testing of SpaceShipTwo. They also had concerns about potential damage to the carrier aircraft.

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