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 July 31, 2015

News: Carter: Military leaders could arm more troops at home – Following the recent fatal shooting of four Marines and a sailor in Tennessee, Defense Secretary Ash Carter is ordering the military services to consider new policies that would enhance security for troops at home, including potentially arming more personnel.   Business: DOD weighs supplier base,...
 
 

News Briefs July 31, 2015

U.S. delivering eight newer F-16 warplanes to Egypt The United States Embassy in Cairo says the U.S. is delivering eight newer F-16 warplanes to Egypt as part of an ongoing military support package. It says in a July 30 statement that the aircraft, of the current Block 52 production variant, will be flown in from...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph

Lockheed Martin successfully tests design changes for Orion spacecraft’s fairing separation system

Lockheed Martin photograph A protective panel for Orion’s service module is jettisoned during testing at Lockheed Martin’s Sunnyvale, California facility. This test series evaluated design changes to the spacecraft’s fair...
 

 

Australian company to provide parts for initial production of Triton UAS

Northrop Grumman has awarded the first Australian supplier contract for the U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system initial production lot to Ferra Engineering. Brisbane-based Ferra Engineering will manufacture mechanical sub-assemblies for the first four Triton air vehicles including structural components. “At Northrop Grumman it’s very important to not only develop...
 
 
Boeing photograph

CH-46 ‘Phrog’ makes its last hop

Boeing photograph The CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter commonly known as the “Phrog,” is set to retire and to be flown one last time by Reserve Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 774 on Aug. 1. The CH-46 Sea Knight is a med...
 
 

Insitu awarded LRIP Lot IV RQ-21A Blackjack Systems contract

Under the terms of its latest contract, Insitu will build six RQ-21A Blackjack systems for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The $78-million Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems Lot IV Low Rate Initial Production contract is the latest event in the program’s progression toward the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation phase.   “This award will...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>