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A commercial space plane designed to carry astronauts and cargo into Earth orbit will soon touch down in stores as a popular toy.
Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announced on Monday (Sep. 17) that its Dream Chaser spacecraft will be part of Mattel Inc.'s Matchbox Sky Busters toy line to be released this month.
Matchbox - Toy - Car - Line - Models
Like the classic Matchbox toy car line that features die-cast scale models of real-life wheeled vehicles, Sky Busters has offered the same for winged aircraft since 1973. The Matchbox Sky Busters Dream Chaser reproduces the SNC space plane as a 3.5-inch-long (9-centimeter) toy approximately 1:100th the size of the actual orbital craft.
The Matchbox Dream Chaser is modeled after the space plane's crewed configuration, which competed for, but was not selected by NASA's commercial crew program to fly astronauts to and from the International Space Station. A cargo version of the vehicle, which lacks forward windows and sports a mostly black upper body, is currently under development to resupply the space station under a NASA contract beginning in 2020.
Versions - Dream - Chaser - Design - NASA
Both versions of the Dream Chaser were based on the design of NASA's HL-20 "horizontal lander" lifting body, which itself was reverse engineered from Russia's BOR-4 unpiloted orbital rocket plane of the 1980s. The Dream Chaser has wings, but derives 70 percent of its lift from the shape of its body. It is designed to launch atop a rocket (initially, the United Launch Alliance Atlas V), dock with the space station in orbit and then return to Earth as a glider, much like NASA's retired space shuttle orbiters.
Mattel’s Matchbox Sky Busters Dream Chaser is modeled after the crew version of the commercial space plane.
Credit - Sierra - Nevada - Corp
Credit: Sierra Nevada Corp.
A full-size test article of the crew-configured Dream Chaser successfully flew an approach and landing test in November 2017, dropping from...
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