US agency officials announced on Thursday that Sierra Space's “Dream Chaser” spacecraft, which aims to resupply the International Space Station (ISS), has successfully passed the first series of NASA tests.
Sierra Space wants its small space shuttle to make its first missions to the International Space Station later this year.
The first “Dream Chaser,” called Tenacity, was completed in November by Sierra Space teams and then sent to NASA's center in Sandusky, Ohio, where it was subjected to vibration tests that simulate takeoff and entry into the atmosphere.
The vehicle must then be subjected to extremely low and high temperature testing, as well as low pressure.
“We are really excited to begin NASA orbital operations this year. This is the year that will change the way we connect Earth to space,” Tom Weiss, the company's president, told the press.
This coaster is designed to fly independently and can be reused up to 15 times.
Sierra Space won an agreement with NASA in 2016 to fly resupply missions to the International Space Station.
The shuttle's first unmanned flight is scheduled to take place in 2024, although the exact date is unknown. The ship that will deliver the equipment will be launched by a Vulcan Centaur rocket that made its first flight in January.
Sierra Space aims to develop a private economy in low Earth orbit, and therefore wants to develop a commercial space station with Blue Origin called Orbital Reef.