Space

October 31, 2013

Dream Chaser landing gear failure spoils first free flight test

dream-chaser2

The first glitch in a successful program to qualify the Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser as a Space Station crew taxi vehicle happened March 26.

The Dream Chaser engineering test article was released from an Erickson Sky Crane helicopter at 12,500 feet.

The unmanned prototype followed its automated flight programs perfectly, first diving at 50 degrees, then going to gentle glide slope. It tracked to the landing strip centerline perfectly. But when the landing carriage was commanded down, the left landing gear was slow coming down. Despite the software attempting to hold the left wing up, it scraped the ground. Then in a cloud of dust Dream Chaser veered off the runway and ended in a vertical position.

While the on-board software did its best to hold up the left wing as long as possible after the Dream Chaser prototype’s successful touch down on the centre line of the runway, the unsupported wing did eventually drop to the ground. The result was that the Dream Chaser prototype skidded off the runway in a cloud of dust and sand, ending up after this in an upright position. It is likely that there was a mechanical failure.

The glide flight lasted approximately one minute. The 50 degrees down angle was held for about 10 seconds, both to gain speed and to match the approach that the full space-capable version of the Dream Chaser would perform. At 200 feet altitude, the on-board ground radar altimeter released the F-5 jet-fighter sourced undercarriage. The final approach lasted approximately 20 seconds at a speed of roughly 160-162 kt.

The testing is being conducted jointly by NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center and Sierra Nevada under a Space Act Agreement. Testing is at Edwards AFB.

dream-chaser1

There were no injuries associated with the accident, and it was reported that there had been no significant damage to the crew compartment, and that any crew would have survived such an event. Before the free flight test, there have been a series of ground tow testing, and captive carry tests of aerodynamic characteristics without incidents.

Sierra Nevada says that Dream Chaser remains on target to make its first unmanned spaceflight in 2016 on top of an Atlas V launch vehicle, with the first piloted orbital spaceflight following in mid-to-late 2017.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines April 23, 2014

News: U.S. conducts spy flights over Russia - After a tit-for-tat series of delays, the United States conducted an Open Skies Treaty intelligence flight over Russian territory April 21, a State Department official said.  Army paratroopers heading to Poland after Russian annexation of Crimea - U.S. Army paratroopers are arriving in Poland to begin a series of...
 
 

News Briefs April 23, 2014

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,177 As of April 22, 2014, at least 2,177 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. The AP count is one less than the Defense Department’s tally. At least...
 
 

Northrop Grumman sets new greenhouse gas emission reduction goal of 30 percent by 2020

Northrop Grumman announced April 22 its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent from 2010 levels by 2020, as part of its commemoration of Earth Day.   “Northrop Grumman is dedicated to top performance in environmental sustainability,” said Wes Bush, chairman, chief executive officer and president. “This new goal sets the bar significantly...
 

 

Lockheed Martin demonstrates enhanced ground control system, software for small UAV

Lockheed Martin’s Group 1 family of unmanned aircraft systems is migrating to enhanced automation capabilities using its Kestrelô “Fly Light” flight control systems and industry-leading mobile Ground Control Station software. The increased automation allows operators to focus on executing the mission, rather than flying various aircraft. Earlier this year, Lockheed MartinR...
 
 

U.S. Navy awards General Dynamics $33 million to operate, maintain military sealift ships

The U.S. Navy has awarded General Dynamics American Overseas Marine LLC a $32.7 million contract modification to operate and maintain seven large, medium-speed, roll-on / roll-off ships for the Military Sealift Command. AMSEA is a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics. Under the terms of the modification, AMSEA will provide services including crewing, engineering, maintenance,...
 
 

US Navy deploys Standard Missile-3 Block IB for first time

In partnership with the Missile Defense Agency, the U.S. Navy deployed the second-generation Standard Missile-3 Block IB made by Raytheon for the first time, initiating the second phase of the Phased Adaptive Approach. “The SM-3 Block IB’s completion of initial operational testing last year set the stage for a rapid deployment to theater,” said Dr....
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>