| USWorld

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Mini space shuttle skids off runway in test; damage minimal

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, 6:36 p.m.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A new, smaller version of NASA's space shuttle is recuperating from a rough first landing.

The Dream Chaser space plane is being designed by Sierra Nevada Corp. It's vying to carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station in four or five more years.

The Nevada-based company on Saturday tested a full-scale model at Edwards Air Force Base in California. A helicopter dropped the unmanned craft from 12,500 feet in a first free flight reminiscent of NASA's drop tests of the shuttle prototype Enterprise in the 1970s.

Everything worked well for the automated Dream Chaser model until the end, when the left landing gear deployed too late and the test vehicle skidded off the runway.

Company space systems chief Mark Sirangelo said on Tuesday that damage was minor. The left gear was attached, and the tire wasn't shredded, he said. The crew cabin area was unscathed — astronauts would have been uninjured, he said. The flight computers never stopped working, and nothing critical was damaged.

Sirangelo stressed that the minute-long test flight was a success despite the ending.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Searchers find cousins alive in Kentucky’s Red River Gorge area
  2. Rail defect cited in West Virginia derailment
  3. House GOP colleagues pressure Ryan
  4. Court blocks Obama water protections
  5. Drone in Ellipse leads to citation for operator
  6. Transient trio jailed in pair’s slayings in California
  7. House OKs end of oil export ban adopted in 1970s in response to Arab embargo
  8. Civil servants’ pay, benefits exceed private-sector counterparts, Cato study finds
  9. Inmates help dying prisoners in Ohio hospice
  10. Officials: Broken rail caused February W.V. train derailment
  11. Officials: 1 dead, 3 wounded in Northern Arizona University shooting