Dream Chaser spaceplane arrives at the Cape Canaveral spaceport

Sierra Space has completed vibration tests of its Dream Chaser spaceplane and brought it to the Cape Canaveral Space Center. There it was connected to the Shooting Star cargo module, and now it is awaiting the final tests and the first flight into space.

Dream Chaser is getting ready to fly. Source: phys.org

Dream Chaser was brought to the spaceport

Sierra Space’s new Dream Chaser spaceplane has finally reached the Cape Canaveral spaceport. It was brought to the Kennedy Space Center in a special climate-controlled container and connected to the Shooting Star transport container. 

The Dream Chaser has spent the last months at NASA’s Neil Armstrong Test Facility in Ohio. There it passed a series of vibration tests that proved the reliability of its design. Now the spaceplane will have to repeat the same thing with the attached cargo module, which arrived at the spaceport on May 11.

After that, the spaceplane and cargo module assembled together will be transported to a special chamber. There they will be exposed to extreme temperatures from -100 to 150 °C. This will simulate the conditions in which they will be during a space flight.

What will be the program of the first flight

If everything goes well, then the next stage should be the first test flight of the new system. Dream Chaser, along with Shooting Star, are to be launched into space using a Vulcan rocket from Launch Complex 41 in Florida.

They are supposed to deliver 3,500 kg of payload to the International Space Station. Before docking with it, the Dream Chaser will perform a series of maneuvers in order to demonstrate its ability to move effectively in a vacuum. After that, the Canadarm2 robotic arm will attach it to one of the station modules.

After staying in orbit for 45 days, the Dream Chaser will return to earth and automatically land at the airfield like a regular aircraft. NASA has high hopes for it as part of the space capability expansion program.

In fact, it is a hybrid system. By itself, it can not only raise up to 1600 kg of cargo, but also safely return the same amount to Earth. But the Shooting Star cargo module will be able to send as much as 3,850 kg of cargo into orbit. However, it is disposable and when returning to Earth, it can only safely burn garbage in the atmosphere.

According to phys.org

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