'Dream Chaser' could be successor to space shuttle
The privately built space capsule that zipped its way to the International Space Station last month launched a new for-profit space race.
The capsule designed and built by SpaceX called Dragon delivered supplies to the space station before safely returning to Earth.
There are now more companies looking to make money in orbit -- at least eight -- than major U.S. airlines still flying. While private space companies have talked for years about ferrying goods and astronauts for NASA, this is the first time one actually made it to orbit and docked with the space station.
The Sierra Nevada Corp. of Sparks, Nev., with nearly $106 million from NASA, has constructed what it hopes will be the successor to the space shuttle. A mini-shuttle crew vehicle called Dream Chaser is targeting its first space flight for 2016 or possibly 2017.
The company this year finished landing gear tests and has a full-scale ship for flight testing attached to a helicopter this fall in California.