Private spaceship tests underway in Va. and Calif.

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(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — A Colorado company developing a spaceship to take astronauts to the International Space Station is having its spacecraft undergo a series of landing-focused tests at NASA facilities in Virginia and California.

Sierra Nevada Corp.’s Dream Chaser vehicle is designed to carry seven people and land like a plane. The Louisville, Colo.-based company is one of three chosen by NASA to develop rocket ships to take over the job of the retired space shuttle.

The flight vehicle arrived at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif., on Wednesday for flight and runway landing systems tests. At NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., astronauts are simulating landings at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. in different atmospheric conditions.

The astronauts are also evaluating the spacecraft’s guidance and navigation performance through Friday.

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