On Saturday, the Dream Chaser space plane completed a milestone in its development. During an “approach and landing” test, the spacecraft was dropped from a helicopter to fly back to a landing strip at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The company behind the space plane confirmed the successful test in a tweet on Saturday night, saying, “The Dream Chaser had a beautiful flight and landing!”
The company released no immediate, additional details about the test. (It promised more information Monday). But Saturday’s flight clearly marks a significant milestone for Dream Chaser and its manufacturer, Sierra Nevada Corporation. During the last free-flight test in 2013, the spacecraft had a problem with the deployment of its left landing gear, causing the plane to skid off the runway and leading to minor damage.