The World’s First Commercial Space Plane Is Being Built In Colorado
History is, quite literally, in the making in the Centennial State.
As you're reading this, the world’s first commercial space plane is being built right here in Colorado - specifically, at the Sierra Space facility in Louisville.
Meet Dream Chaser, The World's First Commercial Space Plane
The world's first commercial space plane - dubbed the Dream Chaser - was originally designed as a crewed spaceplane, in part under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, capable of carrying up to seven astronauts to and from the space station and other low Earth orbit (LEO) destinations.
However, the Dream Chaser provides multi-mission solutions, Sierra Space says.
"The Dream Chaser spaceplane is a multi-mission vehicle capable of supporting a variety of LEO needs. It can be customized for both domestic and international customers via vehicle configuration, launch site, destination, landing site, duration, and a host of other variables."
Sierra Space x NASA
According to Denver7, the construction of the Dream Chaser at Colorado's Sierra Space facility marks the Louisville-based company's first large-scale contract with NASA.
“The primary purpose right now is for our NASA contract." Angie Wise, senior vice president of mission assurance at Sierra Space told Denver7.
"We have seven missions to and from the International Space Station to take cargo to the astronauts onboard."
While the Dream Chaser will be capable of handling different kinds of missions, the space plane will reportedly complete — at a minimum — the seven missions.
About The Mission
Dream Chaser is set to ferry its first cargo to the International Space Station in 2023.
For the initial trip, there reportedly won't be any astronauts onboard when it launches; the space plane will stay on the ISS for 35 to 75 days before flying back to Earth.
“We have the guidance, navigation, and control all onboard the vehicle, so it knows how to fly itself back on the runway,” Wise told Denver7.
What makes the Dream Chaser so unique?
Besides the fact that Dream Chaser is set to become the world's first commercial space plane, what makes it all the more unique is the fact that Dream Chaser can be refurbished - meaning it can be launched over and over again.
Once the Dream Chaser is fully assembled and ready to fly, it will be sent to NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Ohio to undergo an environmental test series, Denver7 says. After that, the space plane will be sent south to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the initial launch scheduled for next year.
“This is the start of a new revolution of space,” Wise said.
For more information about Dream Chaser and Colorado's Sierra Space facility, visit sierraspace.com.
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