Sierra Space relocating Dream Chaser space plane to Florida before launch.

Sierra Space recently completed testing of Dream Chaser ‘Tenacity’ at NASA’s Neil Armstrong Test Facility in Sandusky, Ohio. The space plane will be launched atop United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan rocket and will carry cargo to the International Space Station.

The testing regimen included enduring extreme temperatures and shock testing to prepare for the rigors of space. Dream Chaser underwent sine vibration testing at NASA’s Armstrong Test Facility, with each test lasting approximately 90 seconds.

The data from these tests ensures the vehicle’s performance within ULA’s launch parameters. During the testing process, the space plane and its additional cargo attachment, ‘Shooting Star’, underwent a shock test connected to the Vulcan Centaur stage separation mechanism.

Subsequently, it was placed on what’s known as the most powerful spacecraft shaker table in the world. The entire testing process lasted over 5 weeks as teams recreated the conditions the space plane would experience during launch on Vulcan.

Additional testing simulated the separation of the cargo attachment from Dream Chaser before de-orbiting. Post these evaluations, the space plane entered a thermal vacuum chamber capable of cycling temperatures from -150F to +250F, similar to the conditions it will encounter in space.

Tenacity and its cargo module are currently undergoing thermal vacuum testing at NASA’s Armstrong Test Facility in Ohio. These tests are crucial steps in the journey toward the launchpad and Sierra Space’s mission to redefine the future of space commercialization.

With the testing now completed, Sierra Space will transport Dream Chaser Tenacity to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for its final round of testing before attaching it to ULA’s Vulcan rocket. Sierra Space and ULA aim to launch in 2024, pending smooth final testing and the readiness of the Vulcan rocket.

Additionally, Sierra Space is currently developing its next Dream Chaser, Reverence, which will also be used to transport cargo to the ISS.

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