After being dropped from altitude of 10,000 feet by a balloon, the Dream Chaser mini-shuttle design of Sierra Nevada Corporation made a successful glide to land at Runway 22L at Edwards Air Force base in California, USA on 12 November. The design used its two rear wheels and skid to make a perfect landing. There was no repeat of the landing wheel collapse that marred a previous attempt.

While the mini-shuttle is based on NASA’s HL-20 manned lifting body design, Sierra Nevada Corporation has been contracted by NASA to eventually use Dream Chaser to provide unmanned cargo flights to the International Space Station. Nevertheless, Sierra Nevada hopes one day to make manned flights with Dream Chaser even though it was unsuccessful in the final competition to provide those flights to the ISS.

Dream Chaser lands after successful drop test. Courtesy: NASA