EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) — A test version of a spacecraft resembling a mini space shuttle has been carried aloft over the Mojave Desert by a helicopter in a precursor to a free flight in which it will be released to autonomously land on a runway.
Sierra Nevada Corp.'s Dream Chaser craft was lifted off the ground at 7:21 a.m. Wednesday at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center on Edwards Air Force Base, California.
A control team sent commands to the wingless vehicle and collected data before the helicopter brought it down at 9:02 a.m. The company says the test appears to be a success.
If a second captive-carry test is successful this year, a free flight will follow.
The spacecraft is being developed for missions to and from the International Space Station.