NOTE: This article is only available to subscribers. Subscribe now to gain access to all articles, read exclusive interviews with top scientists from around the world, and browse the site ad free. The first month is free.

Dream Chaser damaged by crash landing in California [VIDEO]

October 30, 2013

Dream Chaser damaged by crash landing in California [VIDEO]

The landing gear that failed was borrowed from a fighter jet.

The prototype for the Dream Chaser spacecraft completed its first free-flying test on Saturday, but not without a few bumps in the road. After having trouble deploying its landing gear, the spacecraft sustained some damage, NBC News reports. The issues with the landing gear caused the spacecraft to tumble on the runway after descending, but preliminary reports suggest that the damage is repairable. The test was a key one for the spacecraft, which has previously been tested using captive-carry methods which do not require the Dream Chaser to be autonomous.

Part of a NASA-funded program, the Dream Chaser is being designed with the aim of transporting American astronauts to the International Space Station in American spaceships. Currently, NASA relies on Russia to get astronauts to the International Space Station. The Dream Chaser is the only winged spacecraft out of the three candidates that NASA is considering. In addition to supplies, it could carry seven passengers. Space X and Boeing have also proposed designs for the spacecraft that are more traditional. The spacecraft is launched on a rocket, but would land on a runway at the end of each trip. For the free-flying test on Saturday, the Dream Chaser was released at 12,000 feet from a helicopter.

Comments should take into account that readers may hold different opinions. With that in mind, please make sure comments are respectful, insightful, and remain focused on the article topic. In addition, readers can send us tips, press releases, or ideas for stories: