Sierra Space Completes First Phase of Pre-Flight Testing for Dream Chaser Spaceplane

Sierra Space Completes First Phase of Pre-Flight Testing for Dream Chaser Spaceplane

Sierra Space, one of the leading commercial space companies and emerging defense tech prime building a platform in space to benefit and protect life on Earth announced the successful completion of the initial phase of environmental testing on the revolutionary Dream Chaser spaceplane, Tenacity, at NASA’s Neil Armstrong Test Facility in Sandusky, Ohio.

Over the past month, the Sierra Space Dream Chaser and its cargo companion, Shooting Star, underwent rigorous vibration testing while stacked in launch configuration inside the Mechanical Vibration Facility at the NASA complex. In readiness for launch from Kennedy Space Center, the tests exposed the vehicles to the intense conditions of launch vibrations using the world’s most powerful spacecraft shaker table.

“We are coming out of years of development, years of hard work, and years of resolving tough engineering challenges that come from revolutionary new ways of doing things,” said Sierra Space CEO Tom Vice. “This phase of development illustrates how Dream Chaser and the Shooting Star cargo module will handle the mechanical rigors of launch. This is the year that we transition from development and enter orbital operations – it is the year that changes how we connect space and earth.”

“Completion of vibration testing of the vehicles in the launch configuration is a huge milestone for Sierra Space and the Dream Chaser program,” said Jake Ingram, Director of Programs for Dream Chaser DC-100. “We successfully applied the environment specified by the launch provider, validated primary structure modal responses, and verified vehicle functionality before and after the vibration test sequence.”

Key accomplishments in this first critical phase of pre-flight testing included: the completion of Sine Vibration Testing (in all three axes or directions), a Separation Shock Test that simulates the separation of the Dream Chaser from Shooting Star, and a test that involved deploying the spaceplane’s wings. These tests evaluated Dream Chaser’s performance under the stresses of launch, operation in orbit, and ability to communicate with the International Space Station (ISS).

‘Joint Test #3’, a critical phase in the testing process, represented an integrated assessment of the completed system in a flight-like configuration. After its ride to space atop United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur rocket, Dream Chaser separates from the rocket fairing, deploys its wings from a folded position, and flies semi-autonomously to the International Space Station. Joint Test #3 was a comprehensive evaluation focused on the software interface between the vehicle and the ISS to ensure the seamless functionality of the command and data handling.

Following these critical test phases, the Shooting Star cargo module was de-mated from Dream Chaser and transported from the Armstrong Test Facility’s Space Environments Complex (SEC) to the nearby In-Space Propulsion (ISP) facility. Soon, Dream Chaser will be transported to the ISP facility to join the cargo module, where the two spacecraft will begin thermal vacuum testing, a crucial step in the journey towards the launchpad and another milestone in Sierra Space’s mission to redefine the future of space commercialization.

Click here to learn more about Sierra Space's Dream Chaser Spaceplane.

Publisher: SatNow

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Satellite NameOrbit Date
BeiDou-3 G4Geostationary Orbit (GEO)17 May, 2023
BeiDou-3 G2Geostationary Orbit (GEO)09 Mar, 2020
Compass-IGSO7Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)09 Feb, 2020
BeiDou-3 M19Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M20Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M21Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M22Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 I3Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M23Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019
BeiDou-3 M24Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019


Satellite NameOrbit Date
GSAT0223MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0224MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0219MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0220MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0221MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0222MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0215MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0216MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0217MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0218MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Kosmos 2569--07 Aug, 2023
Kosmos 2564--28 Nov, 2022
Kosmos 2559--10 Oct, 2022
Kosmos 2557--07 Jul, 2022
Kosmos 2547--25 Oct, 2020
Kosmos 2545--16 Mar, 2020
Kosmos 2544--11 Dec, 2019
Kosmos 2534--27 May, 2019
Kosmos 2529--03 Nov, 2018
Kosmos 2527--16 Jun, 2018


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Navstar 82Medium Earth Orbit19 Jan, 2023
Navstar 81Medium Earth Orbit17 Jun, 2021
Navstar 78Medium Earth Orbit22 Aug, 2019
Navstar 77Medium Earth Orbit23 Dec, 2018
Navstar 76Medium Earth Orbit05 Feb, 2016
Navstar 75Medium Earth Orbit31 Oct, 2015
Navstar 74Medium Earth Orbit15 Jul, 2015
Navstar 73Medium Earth Orbit25 Mar, 2015
Navstar 72Medium Earth Orbit29 Oct, 2014
Navstar 71Medium Earth Orbit02 Aug, 2014


Satellite NameOrbit Date
NVS-01Geostationary Orbit (GEO)29 May, 2023
IRNSS-1IInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)12 Apr, 2018
IRNSS-1HSub Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (Sub-GTO)31 Aug, 2017
IRNSS-1GGeostationary Orbit (GEO)28 Apr, 2016
IRNSS-1FGeostationary Orbit (GEO)10 Mar, 2016
IRNSS-1EGeosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)20 Jan, 2016
IRNSS-1DInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)28 Mar, 2015
IRNSS-1CGeostationary Orbit (GEO)16 Oct, 2014
IRNSS-1BInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Apr, 2014
IRNSS-1AInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)01 Jul, 2013