Sierra Nevada Corporation announced on August 30, 2017, that successfully finished captive carry test flight of their Dream Chaser space plane.
Dream Chaser developed under Space Act Agreement with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP) started its pre-flight tests. First captive carry test flight was performed under Columbia Helicopters Model 234-UT Chinook at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research in California on August 30, 2017. It was first flight after tow tests performed also at Armstrong Flight Research; test flights under helicopter have important purpose – gathering telemetry data and analyzing of control systems of the vehicle.
Vehicle was attached to the helicopter on long for 9 m cable. It was lifted and begun test flight, which lasted 90 minutes. After return to airfield, vehicle was carefully placed on the ground. According to official statement test was finished with success. Engineers and flight specialists obtained telemetry data, checked how instruments like adar altimeters, flush air data system, air data probes, navigation system are working during flight. Of course whole construction was carefully evaluated as well. Captive carry test flights are only way to check vehicle during flight before first from 2013 free flight planned for the following months and probably will be conducted before end of the 2017.