Dream Chaser® Undergoes Testing at NASA Test Facility in Ohio

Futuramic AdminNews

NASA and Sierra Space are gearing up for a historic moment with the impending maiden flight of the Dream Chaser spacecraft bound for the International Space Station. The spacecraft, accompanied by its cargo module Shooting Star, has landed at NASA’s Neil Armstrong Test Facility in Sandusky, Ohio. Awaiting it is a series of environmental tests, set to commence in mid-December, paving the way for the highly anticipated inaugural flight scheduled for the first half of 2024. This marks a significant milestone as the Dream Chaser undergoes rigorous evaluations, including vibration and thermal vacuum testing, simulating launch conditions and the harsh environment of space. Stay tuned as Futuramic proudly contributes to the journey of this cutting-edge spacecraft.

NASA and Sierra Space are preparing for the first flight of the company’s Dream Chaser spacecraft to the International Space Station. Dream Chaser and its companion cargo module, called Shooting Star, arrived at NASA’s Neil Armstrong Test Facility in Sandusky, Ohio, for environmental testing, scheduled to start in mid-December, ahead of its first flight, scheduled for the first half of 2024.

The Neil Armstrong Test Facility, part of NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, is home to multiple test facilities, including the Space Environments Complex and the In-Space Propulsion Facility, both stops for Dream Chaser. The complex is home to the Mechanical Vibration Facility, which subjects test articles to the rigorous conditions of launch.

While at Armstrong, the Dream Chaser winged spacecraft will be stacked atop its Shooting Star cargo module on the vibration table to experience vibrations like those during launch and re-entry to the Earth’s atmosphere.

Following vibration testing, Dream Chaser will be moved to the propulsion facility for thermal vacuum testing. Dream Chaser will be placed in a vacuum and exposed to low ambient pressures, low-background temperatures, and replicated dynamic solar heating, which simulates the environment the spacecraft will encounter during its mission. This facility is the only one capable of testing full-scale, upper stage rockets and rocket engines under simulated space conditions and conducting altitude hot fire.

After completion of testing at Armstrong, Dream Chaser will be shipped to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for further launch preparations, currently scheduled for liftoff in the first half of 2024.” – via NASA

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Dream Chaser Ground Support Equipment Testing


About Sierra Space’s Dream Chaser Spacecraft

The Dream Chaser spaceplane is the first-ever winged commercial spaceplane that will open shared access to space and international collaboration for all humankind. The multi-mission spaceplane fleet is designed to transport crew and cargo to low-Earth orbit (LEO) and can be customized for both domestic and international customers for global operations.

About Sierra Space

Sierra Space is a leading commercial space company at the forefront of innovation and the commercialization of space in the Orbital Age®, building an end-to-end business and technology platform in space to benefit life on Earth. With more than 30 years and 500 missions of space flight heritage, the company is reinventing both space transportation with Dream Chaser®, the world’s only commercial spaceplane, and the future of space destinations with the company’s inflatable and expandable space station technology. Highly scalable and flexible, this innovative “softgoods” technology will define a new generation of space stations. Sierra Space also builds and delivers a host of systems and subsystems across solar power, mechanics and motion control, environmental control, life support, propulsion and thermal control, offering myriad space-as-a-service solutions for the new space economy.

NASA’s Neil Armstrong Test Facility

NASA’s Neil Armstrong Test Facility is part of NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. Located on 6,400 acres in Sandusky, Ohio, it is home to some of the world’s largest and most capable space simulation test facilities, where ground tests are conducted for the U.S. and international space and aeronautics communities.