On the Dream Chaser spaceplane, electricity is turned on for the first time

Sierra Space has connected its Dream Chaser spaceplane to power sources for the first time and checked the operation of its systems. Now it is in the Vehicle Assembly Building, but soon it should go to the tests, which will be conducted by NASA.

A spaceplane in orbit. Source: Sierra Space

Dream Chaser is getting ready for tests

The Dream Chaser spacecraft, located in the assembly building, was connected to power sources for the first time. Engineers have turned on all systems that will be powered by solar panels in space. This was announced on Wensday, May 31, by representatives of Sierra Space, which was developing this spacecraft. 

“This is a milestone that points to the future and is a key moment in a long journey for Dream Chaser,” said Tom Vice, executive director of Sierra Space, in a statement about the tests. The vessel is one step closer to its first flight into space, but it still has a long way to go.

The next stage will be the tests that NASA will conduct. The first sample of the Dream Chaser, called Tenacity, will take them to the Neil Armstrong Center in Ohio, the former Plum Brook Station. There it will undergo thermal vacuum tests before being sent to Florida to Cape Canaveral. They will last for several months.

How is the preparation for the start

Earlier, Sierra Space representatives have already stated that they plan to make the first flight of the Dream Chaser before the end of this year. However, no schedule of preparation for the launch has been made public. It is only known that the exact launch date depends not only on when the spaceplane will be tested.

How missions to the space station will be planned also plays a role. However, most of all depends on the readiness of the Vulcan Centaur rocket from the United Launch Alliance company. The fact is that it should withdraw Dream Chaser only during its second mission. And first it is necessary to deliver the Astrobotic mission to the Moon, the start of which is postponed to the end of summer.

In the meantime, a lot remains unclear with Vulcan Centaur, preparation is taking place in other directions. So recently, astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli and Satoshi Furukawa, who would soon go to the ISS as part of the Crew-7 mission, worked with spaceplane systems, training to transfer cargo from it to the station.

Dream Chaser Operation Plans

It was as a reusable system for cargo delivery to the ISS that Dream Chaser was created in the first place. Therefore, its main version will be unmanned. However, Sierra Space is preparing other roles for it. In particular, a manned version will be created, which will be used to deliver crews to the private Orbital Reef station, which the company is developing together with Blue Origin.

Preparing for future manned flights, Sierra Space plans to select its own professional crew of astronauts. It is expected that the start of their training will begin after the first successful flight of the unmanned version of the shuttle. The initial group will consist of 12-15 people.

According to spacenews.com

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