Not so successful was what happened after the space plane touched down on a runway at Edwards Air Force Base in California. One of Dream Chaser's three landing gears failed to drop down, leaving the vehicle struggling for balance as it shot down the landing strip.
Ultimately, the mockup, which is about the size of a regional airplane, skidded off the runway and ended up in the sand, Sirangelo said.
No one was injured, nor was there any damage to the runway.
Damage to the Dream Chaser is still being assessed, he added.
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The vehicle had been scheduled for a second autonomous flight, but Sirangelo said Saturday's test was so successful, the company may be able to skip the second unmanned glide and proceed directly to a piloted test flight slated for next year.
In that case, Dream Chaser would be returned to Sierra Nevada's manufacturing facility in Colorado for repairs and to be outfitted for the piloted flight, Sirangelo said.
The landing gear, which was deployed 10 seconds to 15 seconds before touchdown, is not the same equipment planned for Sierra Nevada's orbital ship, he added.