Sierra Space has fired up its private space plane for the first time, the last obstacle before a live launch of the ingenious craft
Sierra Space, a Colorado-based space technology company, fired up the Dream Chaser aircraft for the first time at its assembly facility. That’s a major hurdle it had to clear to be fit for space, and now it appears Sierra Space is one step away from launching it into low-Earth orbit for its maiden mission. Sierra Space engineers conducted the test to simulate the energy the aircraft will draw from its own solar panels once in orbit. The Dream Chaser is an advanced orbital spacecraft that, once ready for launch, will be capable of transport people and cargo to stopovers such as the International Space Station. The spacecraft specifications say it will be able to carry up to 5 tons of cargo. However, the Dream Chaser is not designed to go into orbit on its own, as it will be powered by a ULA Vulcan Centaur rocket. It won’t need any help beyond that, as the aforementioned solar arrays will keep it powered while in low Earth orbit. When the space plane is ready to return to land, it will be able to handle re-entry into the atmosphere and land on a runway. As for the Dream Chaser launch date, it is said to be late 2023 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Dream Chaser: The first flight and the promise of a new space age
Naturally, the Dream Chaser’s first major flight will be relatively straightforward, as Sierra Space will experience the craft for the first time. The 2023 mission will be a contract with NASA in which the Dream Chaser will bring cargo and supplies to the International Space Station. However, Sierra Space also has that in mind manned flights: the company hopes to lease some missions for its Orbital Reef space station, a station built in collaboration with Blue Origin. Before the Dream Chaser is ready for its first real mission, it will still have to undergo some tests. The first Dream Chaser space plane, dubbed Tenacity, will travel to NASA’s Neil Armstrong Test Facility in Ohio. If Dream Chaser gets the green light from the Neil Armstrong Test Facility, it will be shipped to Cape Canaveral to undergo final checks before launching from Kennedy Space Station. While Sierra Space hasn’t announced any official timelines for upcoming tests and launches, the company will no doubt keep the public updated as it nears the 2023 milestone. Even if all goes well, there is still testing of the rocket to be considered. United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur. The United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur rocket will launch an Astrobotic lunar lander later this summer. Hopefully, Dream Chaser will be the second scheduled launch of the Vulcan Centaur rocket. We just have to wait to see if Sierra Space will succeed.
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