The spaceplane so many people saw and marveled at earlier in the week, is the Dream Chaser Orbital Crew Vehicle being developed by the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) in Louisville.
Sierra Nevada engineers used an Erickson Sky Crane helicopter to put the vehicle through what they call a "captive carry" test. The company's director of flight operations, Steve Lindsey was on 9NEWS 6 a.m. to talk about how it all went. Lindsey, a former NASA shuttle pilot, said every indication so far is that the Dream Chaser performed well.
The Dream Chaser is being developed as part of a NASA program to provide a commercial vehicle for use in low-Earth orbit. Company officials hope to have the Dream Chaser, which began development in 2005, operational in 2014 to ferry crews and cargo to and from the International Space Station.
The Dream Chaser is designed to carry as many as seven astronauts to space. Like the shuttle, it is winged and designed to land on a conventional runway. Lindsey says data from the test will provide SNC an early opportunity to evaluate and prove hardware, facilities and ground operations in preparation for approach and landing tests scheduled for later this year.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)