In a hangar next to an enormous dry lake in the Mojave desert, a new spacecraft that could launch the next generation of space travel is about to begin the testing. What it sets it apart is it’s the only manned spacecraft currently being built that can actually fly back home.
What’s more, the Dream Chaser, as its corny name suggests, is that rare piece of technology that is both a leap forward and a throwback.
Three’s a crowd
With the end of the US space shuttle program in 2011, there has been no way for NASA to bring astronauts to and from the International Space Station. To solve this problem, NASA began an investment program, Commercial Crew Integrated Capability, that has awarded hundreds of millions of dollars to three companies to develop a private-sector space craft: Aerospace giant Boeing, upstart SpaceX and the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC).