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Space Technology

Dream Chaser Damaged In Landing Accident At Edwards AFB 73

RocketAcademy writes "The test article for Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser spacecraft suffered a landing accident on Saturday when the left main landing gear failed to deploy, causing the vehicle to flip over. NBC News quotes a Sierra Nevada engineer saying that the pilot would have walked away. Sierra Nevada Corporation is developing the Dream Chaser to support the International Space Station as part of NASA's Commercial Crew and Cargo program. It is not yet known what effect the mishap will have on Dream Chaser development. A number of rocket vehicles have suffered landing-gear mishaps in the recent past. Several years ago, concerns over spacecraft gear design led to a call for NASA to fund a technology prize for robust, light-weight landing gear concepts."
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Dream Chaser Damaged In Landing Accident At Edwards AFB

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    I always liked their "Celebration" Christmas ale and "Bigfoot" barley wine, and their pale ale is frequently the only decent choice at less reputable establishments. I had no idea they made spacecraft too.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is progress. Back in the 70's, it would have cost SIX MILLION DOLLARS for the pilot to walk away from an accident like this.

  • more appropriate considering the crash. http://youtu.be/i5zn-mF2-_8 [youtu.be]
  • "the pilot would have walked away" is worded terribly and unnervingly the actual article states "a 'pilot would have walked away'" which is written better, but still in an extremely confusing manner What they meant to say is that there was no pilot on the flight (as it was unmanned), but had there been, he or she would have walked away from the crash-landing.
  • ~ Peter Pan. I'm captain of the Dream Chaser. Grumpy Bear here tells me you're lookin' for passage to the Narnia system.
    ~ Yes indeed, if it's a fast ship.
    ~ Fast ship? You've never heard of the Dream Chaser?
    ~ Should I have?
    ~ It's the ship that made the Emerald City Run in less than twelve cowznofskis. I've outrun Middle Kingdom dragons. Not the local luckdragons mind you, I'm talking about the big Morgoth-bred firedrakes now. She's fast enough for you old wizard.

  • Earth is rough.

  • One of many innovative aspects of Burt Rutan's Spaceship One design was the design of the landing gear. Rutan's designs have a Bauhaus-like spareness to them - especially when pushing the envelope as in Spaceship One, his practice was to eliminate cost and weight by eliminating the complexity that drove them.

    SSOne's landing gear is a perfect example - ordinary landing gear (such as used on the Shuttle) is heavy and complex, with lots of hydraulics to be able to deploy and retract, and even more large, heavy oleo strut stuff to absorb the impact of landing.

    Rutan's insight here was typically brilliant: In flight, the landing gear never needed to retract, only deploy, and even that only once, reliably. The model became that of a switchblade knife: A powerful spring reliably forces the landing gear down to engage a locking catch. The comparatively spindly landing gear struts themselves are designed to be springy enough to absorb the expected landing impacts.

    Of course, NASA can't bring itself to admire or declare acceptable what a "private cowboy" like Rutan has done, so they need to spend more money to figure out some other way, rather than adopt what's been shown to work quite well (at least for space vehicles that aren't obese, which is admittedly a foreign concept to NASA - the Shuttle was 20% overweight (!!), making it too heavy to launch Air Force satellites into polar orbit, one of the things that justified it in the first place!)

  • on brand new Bionic Legs!

"Call immediately. Time is running out. We both need to do something monstrous before we die." -- Message from Ralph Steadman to Hunter Thompson