Credit: Sierra Space

LOUISVILLE, Colo. – Nov. 30, 2023 – Sierra Space, a leading pureplay commercial space company building the first end-to-end business and technology platform in space, announced today the commencement of a comprehensive testing campaign for the Shooting Star™ cargo module at NASA’s Neil Armstrong Test Facility in Sandusky, Ohio. This pivotal phase of testing aims to validate the spacecraft’s resilience to the demands of launch and the challenging conditions of space as Shooting Star is readied for its inaugural mission to the International Space Station.

Sierra Space remains committed to ensuring the utmost reliability of its cutting-edge technologies. The Sierra Space Shooting Star cargo module, designed in tandem with the revolutionary Dream Chaser® spaceplane, is set to redefine cargo capabilities, power and propulsion systems in space. “This transformative Sierra Space technology will define the next era of space commercialization,” said Sierra Space CEO Tom Vice. “As we embark on this journey to build a platform in space to benefit life on Earth, our commitment to innovation, reliability and sustainability remains unwavering and is exemplified in our Shooting Star cargo module.”

Key Features of the Shooting Star Cargo Module:

  • Operates seamlessly with the Dream Chaser® spaceplane
  • Internal cargo capacity of 7,000 pounds, complemented by three external mounting points
  • Scheduled NASA resupply missions for the International Space Station beginning in 2024
  • Compatibility with a diverse range of current and future launch vehicles

Commercial Resupply Services-2 (CRS-2) Cargo Services for NASA:

The Shooting Star cargo module is slated to transport critical science, food and cargo to the International Space Station under a NASA Commercial Resupply Services-2 (CRS-2) contract. Accessible via the aft hatch, crews can seamlessly navigate through the module to the Dream Chaser, creating an efficient process for cargo placement and astronaut operations.

Disposal Services:

In an environmentally conscious approach, the Shooting Star offers cargo disposal services, ensuring the safe incineration of the module in Earth’s atmosphere post-separation from the Dream Chaser. This sustainable practice aligns with Sierra Space Corporation’s commitment to responsible space commercialization.

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. Following the Shooting Star, the first Sierra Space Dream Chaser spaceplane has also arrived at the Neil Armstrong Test Facility. The two vehicles will be stacked in launch configuration and undergo rigorous environmental testing starting in the Mechanical Vibration Facility, subjecting them to the extreme conditions of launch vibrations on the world’s most powerful spacecraft shaker table.

About Sierra Space

Sierra Space is a leading, pureplay 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 enabling the future of space transportation with Dream Chaser®, the world’s only commercial spaceplane, and is bringing LIFE™ (Large Integrated Flexible Environment) to low-Earth orbit with its modular, three-story commercial habitation and science platform. Both Dream Chaser and LIFE are central components to Orbital Reef, a mixed-use business park in LEO being developed by principal partners Sierra Space and Blue Origin, which is expected to be operational by the end of the decade. 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.

Sierra Space

Source: Sierra Space

Kris Christiaens's Avatar

Kris Christiaens

This article was published by FutureSpaceFlight founder and chief editor Kris Christiaens. Kris Christiaens has been passionate and fascinated by spaceflight and space exploration all his life and has written hundreds of articles on space projects, the commercial space industry and space missions over the past 20 years for magazines, books and websites. In late 2021, he founded the website FutureSpaceFlight with the goal of promoting new space companies and commercial space projects and compiling news of these start-ups and companies on one website.