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The Shooting Star Transport Vehicle Is Gearing up for Its First NASA Resupply Mission

Dream Chaser and Shooting Star sound rather delicate, but they are the names of a powerful spaceplane and an attachable cargo module, gearing up for their first NASA mission in 2023.
Shooting Star is a transport vehicle attached to the Dream Chaser spaceplane 7 photos
Shooting Star Cargo Module attached to the Dream Chaser SpaceplaneShooting Star Cargo Module attached to the Dream Chaser SpaceplaneShooting Star Cargo Module attached to the Dream Chaser SpaceplaneDream Chaser SpaceplaneDream Chaser SpaceplaneDream Chaser Spaceplane
The outstanding recent boom of the space industry has brought many ambitious startups to the forefront, but Sierra Space makes the bold claim of having developed the only commercial orbital spaceplane in the world. An unmanned and reusable aircraft, the Dream Chaser can theoretically land anywhere, on any type of runway.

But, given that its developer secured a big NASA contract last year, the Dream Chaser will begin its career by making its way back on the Kennedy Space Center’s runway. Under this contract, Sierra Space will participate in cargo resupply missions headed to the ISS (International Space Station). In addition, food provisions and “critical science” cargo will be delivered with the help of an additional vehicle developed by the same company.

Named Shooting Star, this transport vehicle that’s 15-foot-long (4.5 meters) attaches to the spaceplane and can carry up to 10,000 lbs (4,535 kg) of pressurized and unpressurized cargo. Crew members can access this cargo module via the aft hatch. Once inside, they can walk to the forward section that allows them access to the spaceplane.

Unlike Dream Chaser, which gently glides back to Earth after completing its mission and can be reused, Shooting Star burns up in the atmosphere. Basically, a new cargo module is required for each mission and is disposed of safely after being detached from the spaceplane once the cargo inside is delivered.

Spirit AeroSystems will work with Sierra Space to develop the Shooting Star transport vehicle. The two recently announced that they aim to bring integrated assembly solutions and a more efficient production process for the Shooting Star, gearing up for its upcoming NASA mission.

Sierra Space is also part of the Orbital Reef project, developed together with Blue Origin. This complex space station will include a futuristic, modular habitat called LIFE (Large Integrated Flexible Environment).

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