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SNC says the Dream Chaser can be reused 15 or more times, more than any other current operational space vehicle.The company also touts the spacecraft's flexibility in remote sensing, satellite servicing, and even 'active debris removal,' otherwise known as space-trash cleanup.Under the terms of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, and as part of a Space Act Agreement, SNC is able to use agency wind tunnels for Dream Chaser studies and experiments.That's where Langley came in, mounting a Dream Chaser scale model in its Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel for extensive aerodynamic data gathering, which was subsequently added to the spacecraft's performance database.
The version that will be launched into space is still in development.
Sierra Nevada Corp.'s Dream Chaser craft was lifted off the ground at a.m., at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center on Edwards Air Force Base, California, and was carried to the same altitude and flight conditions it will experience before release in a free flight.
A control team sent commands to the wingless vehicle and collected data before the helicopter brought it down at a.m., the company said.'Everything we have seen points to a successful test with useful data for the next round of testing,' director of flight operations Lee 'Bru' Archambault said in a statement.
With the addition of life-support equipment, a Dream Chaser could transport a crew of seven.
Last month, Sierra Nevada selected United Launch Alliance's Atlas 5 rocket to launch the first two Dream Chaser cargo missions, which are scheduled to blast off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in 20. The craft has been undergoing extensive tests at NASA's Langley NASA says the 'guiding principles' for the craft are 'Fly frequently, travel safely, land on (most) runways, and operate economically'.