Video of Dream Chaser Approach and Landing Test

The video cuts off just before landing. Apparently the vehicle ended up on its side after the left landing gear failed to deploy properly at touchdown.

  • dr

    Loving the fluffy dice…
    I bet the Shuttle never had those.

  • Stuart

    Good video except it finishes just before “splashdown”. They’ll probably show that on the “Red Band” trailer …!

  • Hug Doug

    WELL. that was a useless video. cuts off right before what all of us actually want to see.

  • dr

    They have posted a comment below the video on Youtube which says:

    “We have assembled a team to investigate the cause of the anomaly and cannot release any further video at this time. Thank you for your patience while we conduct the investigation!”

  • Hug Doug

    it’s better than nothing, i suppose. everything i’ve read about the “anomaly” suggests the Dream Chaser skidding down the runway was quite a sight to see.

  • Aerospike

    While it is disappointing that they don’t show the “crash” (yet?) after touchdown, I find it quite interesting to see that the left landing gear didn’t deploy at all.

    Note to everybody programming automated landing systems for aircraft: if one of your (main) landing gears doesn’t deploy, you might want to retract the other as well (or at least try) and go for a belly landing instead.

    Skidding on your belly might not be the best solution, but I’m quite sure it’s a hell of a lot better than tumbling along after flipping over! 😉

  • Douglas Messier

    There is video of the M2-F2 crash back in 1967. Might give some idea, although I think it landed on the lake bed while the Dream Chaser was on a concrete runway.

  • therealdmt

    Man, that thing looks cool!

    It was sickening seeing that one gear not fully extend. You’d think they would have tested the crap out of that. Makes one question their competence, actually. Gear can be a heavy part so you want to make sure it isn’t over-engineered, but they screwed up.

    That said, I’ve read this isn’t the gear system for the flight vehicle, but a borrowed system from an old F-5 just for the drop test demo vehicle. Looks like they paid the price for cheaping out.

    Anyway, the craft flew and flew well. Time to get out the Bondo! 😉

  • therealdmt

    Excellent idea. They should have hired you (would have saved them a lot of trouble).

    I’ve watched a plane belly in right in front of me. It was flying around the patch for like an hour trying to get its gear fully down, but finally gave up and just bellied it in. Lots of sparks and a horrible noise, but that was pretty much it. The plane was largely fine (the undersides were scratched to hell, of course). It was flying again a number of months later.

  • momerathe

    on the one hand, cutting the video off before the crash just seems silly, but on the other hand video of their craft crashing being spammed across the internet would probably hurt their investor relations. Best off not to have published the video at all.

  • Aerospike

    I guess you are right.

  • Aerospike

    Well as far as I know they did test the “provisional” gear. There are photos and even videos I think of the gear deploying during previous captive carry flights, and they also did taxi tests on the runway at different speeds.

    Maybe some part failed, maybe it was a human error and someone forgot to reconnect a wire or something, etc.

  • therealdmt

    Yeah, I’m sure they did. But the result looks bad. They needed to do more. I mean, sure _sometimes_ gear fails. Sometimes. But not often. How many planes take off and land every minute of every day and the gear works fine. Did you ever have the gear fail on an airline flight you took and have the plane run off the runway?

    Of course this is a developmental program, but my point is that the _gear_ wasn’t developmental. They picked a known, proven system that’s worked for decades (when did the F-5 come out? I’m thinking the 60’s) and they should have made sure it worked.

    Now of course nothing can be _garaunteed_ to work every time, but come on — one flight! But, things can always go wrong. They should have listened to you and had the error detection mode go to an “all gear up” default mode to belly it in instead of tumbling it across the desert.

    All in all, it was exciting to see the flight, but disappointing to see the pl

  • therealdmt

    …plane tumble on touchdown, of course! Come on, Sierra Nevada — our nation turns it’s lonely eyes to YOU!

  • Paul451

    Are you sure the gear can retract again after being deployed, without a ground crew? Remember these aren’t aircraft.

  • Aerospike

    Well of course I’m not sure, but since it is basically a glider once it reenters the atmosphere and can’t turn around to try to deploy the gear again, a retractable gear might be a good idea for exactly this case.

  • delphinus100

    Good point. That was certainly true for the Shuttle, and why it was one of the few things the orbiter couldn’t do on its own. The gear had to extend manually, because they didn’t want to risk some unexpected computer anomaly to cause the gear to extend in orbit, making safe re-entry impossible.

    (Though it’s said that a mechanical linkage could be installed permitting that, if circumstances truly required it)

  • Paul451

    That was certainly true for the Shuttle

    That’s what prompted my question.

    I’ve since seen references to the Dream Chaser test gear being taken from a F-5E fighter, so presumably it originally had the ability to retract. Whether the modifications necessary to fit it to DC removed that ability, I don’t know.