The makers of the Dream Chaser spaceplane are inching closer to its first space flight, which will culminate with a space shuttle-style landing at Kennedy Space Center.
Sierra Nevada’s Corp. plans to use the Launch and Landing Facility, formerly known as the space shuttle runway, to put its Dream Chaser wheels down following spaceflights to and from the International Space Station and, eventually, a private space station built by Sierra Nevada Corp.
The cargo spacecraft is set to begin carrying supplies for NASA to and from the International Space Station next year under the agency’s commercial resupply services program. The Federal Aviation Administration has now given the tiny shuttle approval to land on the runway at KSC.
Dream Chaser is capable of landing on almost any FAA-licensed landing site that has a 10,000-foot runway or anywhere a commercial airliner could touch down.
On Tuesday, Florida’s spaceport authority Space Florida and Sierra Nevada held a news conference on the runway where the space shuttle last landed in 2011. Space Florida now manages the private runaway under its new title, the Launch and Landing Facility.
“The Dream Chaser is a first of what we hope are many different kinds of events space activities that are occurring,” Space Florida President Frank DiBello said. “We’re just looking forward to a very, very bright future.”