The Perseverance build has been completed. This spacecraft from Sierra Space will transport cargo to and from the International Space Station and can land on the runway upon return.
- The International Space Station (ISS) – and its future successor – must be supplied continuously. There are currently several spacecraft available for this purpose, such as Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus and the Japan Aerospace Agency’s H-II transport vehicle.
- Sometimes, materials also need to be returned to Earth, but most supply ships are unable to do this. Space X’s Dragon is one of the few that can do this, and it lands in the sea upon its return. The American company Sierra Space is now launching Tenacity, a spaceship that can land on the runway like a kind of plane upon return.
- Last week, Sierra Space announced that construction of Tenacity is complete and the spaceplane will be shipped to NASA’s Neil A. Armstrong Test Facility in Ohio for environmental testing in the coming weeks.
- Although Tenacity is currently the only spacecraft that can end its spaceflight on a runway, only NASA’s space shuttles that were retired in 2011 were already able to do so, so it’s no surprise that the Dream Chaser’s appearance is very similar to that of the Dream Chaser. . Space shuttles.
- In addition to extreme heat (more than 1,600 degrees), a spaceship entering the atmosphere also has to deal with tremendous acceleration and thus high gravitational forces. However, Perseverance can limit those forces to one and a half times gravity (1.5 g), which may prevent damage to vulnerable cargo. The wings play an important role in this; They make the elevator.
- In an airplane, lift ensures that the plane stays in the air, and in Tenacity it ensures that the plane slows down.
First mission coming soon
- Sierra Space has a contract with NASA to launch International Space Station resupply missions using the Dream Chaser spacecraft. The first mission could begin as early as April 2024.
- The launch will then take place from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida aboard United Launch Alliance’s new Vulcan Centaur rocket. Upon return, Tenacity will land at NASA’s Shuttle Landing Facility, where the space shuttles used to land. The spaceship can then be relaunched, and according to Sierra Space, the Dream Chaser has a lifespan of at least fifteen missions.
- Independent resupply missions are just the beginning for the Dream Chaser. In the future, Sierra Space also wants to transport people by vehicle.
Watch an animation of the spaceplane’s launch and landing below:
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