by Clarence Oxford
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Dec 04, 2023
Sierra Space has commenced a comprehensive testing campaign for its Shooting Star cargo module at NASA's Neil Armstrong Test Facility in Sandusky, Ohio. This significant step marks a critical phase in preparing the spacecraft for its first mission to the International Space Station (ISS), focusing on its resilience to the harsh conditions of space and the rigors of launch.
The Sierra Space Shooting Star cargo module, developed alongside the innovative Dream Chaser spaceplane, is poised to revolutionize cargo capabilities in space with its unique design and functionality. "This transformative Sierra Space technology will define the next era of space commercialization," said Sierra Space CEO Tom Vice. He emphasized the company's commitment to "innovation, reliability, and sustainability," hallmarks that are encapsulated in the Shooting Star cargo module.
Key features of the Shooting Star Cargo Module include its seamless operation with the Dream Chaser spaceplane, a substantial internal cargo capacity of 7,000 pounds, and compatibility with a wide range of current and future launch vehicles. It also boasts three external mounting points, enhancing its versatility in space operations.
Under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services-2 (CRS-2) contract, the Shooting Star is slated for important missions. It is expected to transport critical science, food, and other cargo to the ISS starting in 2024. The module's design facilitates easy access for crews via the aft hatch, streamlining cargo management and astronaut operations.
In line with environmental considerations, the Shooting Star module also offers cargo disposal services. This feature allows for the safe incineration of the module in Earth's atmosphere after its separation from the Dream Chaser, reflecting Sierra Space Corporation's commitment to responsible space commercialization.
The Neil Armstrong Test Facility, a part of NASA's Glenn Research Center, is an ideal location for this phase of testing. Known for its world-class space simulation capabilities, the facility will subject the Shooting Star and the first Sierra Space Dream Chaser spaceplane to rigorous environmental testing. This includes tests in the Mechanical Vibration Facility to simulate the extreme conditions of launch vibrations. Related Links
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