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. "My curiosity for space started young, and I hope this helps spark the same in any kid who has this toy," Steve Lindsey, vice president of SNC's Space Exploration Systems and a former NASA astronaut who commanded three of his five missions on the space shuttle, said in a statement. "There's just something about a winged spacecraft that spurs the imagination." 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.
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