If you have been fascinated by NASA’s giant space shuttles in your childhood and loathe their suspension from service, then you should stop worrying as you will be able to see an improved version of that, albeit with no humans in it. Sierra Nevada Corporation (SN Corp) has successfully tested its unmanned space shuttle in a captive flight.
The craft, called the Dream Chaser, was put in a captive flight, i.e. the spacecraft was suspended high over the Mojave Desert from a Chinook helicopter. The Dream Chaser was lifted to an altitude at which it would be released for a free flight that is scheduled to happen later this year. The captive test flight allowed engineers to monitor a variety of factors in a flight environment and obtain data to evaluate several of its systems.
SN Corp has made it sure that the unmanned Dream Chaser can be modified anytime to carry seven astronauts to space and vice versa (the current Dream Chaser is equipped to only carry cargo to space). Also, in these times of cost-effective space missions, SN Corp has made sure that the Dream Chaser can be strapped on to a variety of commercial rockets for maximum compatibility.