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Shooting Star Transport Vehicle

Shooting Star Transport Vehicle

SNC's Shooting Star™ is a flexible 15-foot transport vehicle that will be used as an attachment to the Dream Chaser® spaceplane, but also has other applications such as a free-flying spacecraft.

Shooting Star provides substantial payload storage in addition to the pressurized payloads carried in Dream Chaser for NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contract and facilitates cargo disposal upon re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. Dream Chaser will execute a minimum of six missions to the International Space Station under the CRS-2 contract.

Shooting Star Features

  • Up to 10,000 pounds of pressurized & unpressurized cargo
  • Solar panels provide 6kw of electrical power to the spacecraft
  • Active & passive thermal control
  • Dream Chaser translation & rotation capability via six mounted thrusters
  • Three external mounting locations for unpressurized cargo
  • Berthing & docking capabilities
  • Safe cargo disposal services upon re-entry

Media Gallery

Shooting Star 1 | Sierra Nevada Corporation
Shooting Star 2 | Sierra Nevada Corporation
Shooting Star 3 | Sierra Nevada Corporation
Shooting Star 4 | Sierra Nevada Corporation

Shooting Star Variants

  • CRS-2 Cargo Services
  • Disposal Services
  • Mission Solutions

CRS-2 Cargo Services

SNC Dream Chaser Spaceplane and Shooting Star Transport Vehicle docked to the International Space Station.Shooting Star adds a capability for NASA to send additional critical science, food  and cargo to the space station.  Crew access the Shooting Star via the aft   hatch, which berths to the space station. In order to gain access to the Dream Chaser, crew pass through Shooting Star to the forward portion where they can open the hatch into the Dream Chaser. When attached to the space station, Shooting Star provides a normal cabin environment for astronauts to work, and a location for cargo to be removed and placed onto the station after berthing. Initial CRS-2 missions will use berthing to allow better access for outsized cargo but Dream Chaser can also be designed with a docking adapter. Once all resupply cargo is unloaded, the transport vehicle can then be used for crewmembers to stow cargo for disposal.

Disposal Services

Shooting Star Transport Vehicle disposal servicesShooting Star also offers cargo disposal services for NASA. If intended for this purpose, once separated from Dream Chaser the transport vehicle burns up safely in the Earth’s atmosphere, and Dream Chaser itself glides gently back onto the runway at Kennedy Space Center. Since Shooting Star is disposed of on every CRS-2 mission, SNC will maintain a production line for Shooting Star to support all subsequent Dream Chaser missions.

Mission Solutions

SNC Shooting Star Space Transport Vehicle Mission SolutionsFor additional versatility, Shooting Star can support logistics services to other low-Earth orbit and cislunar destinations. SNC has also developed a variant of a free-flying version that can act as a satellite to carry large payloads, with high-power capacity.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • The Shooting Star transport vehicle attaches to the back of Dream Chaser® spaceplane and holds up to 10,000 pounds of supplies, cargo and experiments for the International Space Station. The module is versatile and may be customized for special mission needs. Upon re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere, it also performs disposal of cargo from the International Space Station.

  • The Shooting Star transport vehicle has unpressurized and pressurized cargo resupply capabilities. The transport vehicle also has the following hardware capabilities:

    • The Shooting Star transport vehicle is mounted to the aft portion of Dream Chaser and provides:
      • Electrical power from the solar panels mounted to the Shooting Star transport vehicle
      • Active thermal control, or cooling services
      • Dream Chaser translation and rotation capability using six thrusters mounted on the transport vehicle aft
      • The Shooting Star transport vehicle has three external mounting locations for unpressurized cargo. Each location can hold 500kg of cargo, or a single location can be used to carry 1,500 kg of cargo.  Once berthed, the unpressurized cargo (science or replacement space station avionics hardware) is removed from the transport vehicle via the space station’s robotic arm and placed on the space station itself (wherever the hardware is needed per NASA guidance).
      • Internally, the Shooting Star transport vehicle provides a normal cabin environment for the space station crew to work and operate in and a location for cargo to be removed and placed onto the station after berthing. After all resupply cargo is unloaded, the transport vehicle can then be used for crewmembers to stow cargo for disposal.
  • The Shooting Star transport vehicle can be berthed or docked to the International Space Station, depending on how NASA orders a mission. Initial missions will use berthing to allow better access for outsized cargo.

  • The Shooting Star transport vehicle can carry up to 10,000 pounds of pressurized and unpressurized cargo.

    For cargo resupply missions, the Shooting Star transport vehicle can carry more than 7,600 pounds of pressurized cargo to the space station. Station crew removes this cargo from the transport vehicle in shirtsleeves and transfers it to the space station pressurized cabin.

    The Shooting Star transport vehicle carries up to 3,300 pounds of unpressurized cargo to the space station. Station crew robotically transfers this cargo from the transport vehicle to the space station. 

  • Space station crew access the Shooting Star transport vehicle via the aft hatch, which interfaces with the space station.

    In order to gain access to Dream Chaser, crew will then float through the transport vehicle to the forward portion of the module where they will then open the hatch for the Dream Chaser to gain access to it.  

  • The Shooting Star transport vehicle is designed specifically to provide cargo disposal services for NASA. The plan is to always dispose of the transport vehicle after the deorbit burn is executed. 

    Transport vehicle burns up safely in the Earth atmosphere before Dream Chaser glides gently back onto the runway at the Kennedy Space Center.

  • Yes, since the Shooting Star transport vehicle is disposed on every Commercial Resupply-2 (CRS2) mission, a total of six transport vehicles will be built to fulfill the six mission minimum requirement. Additional transport vehicles will be built for future missions, as required.

  • The test version of the Shooting Star transport vehicle is providing a critical ground operations demonstration capability for the CRS-2 program. These operations familiarize the ground crew at KSC with flight-like hardware, including floor layouts, operational workflow, support contracts and procedure tasking between our NASA partners.

  • Ground operations crew will start loading the transport vehicle with payloads 30 days prior to launch.

  • The design is a conical shape because it provides a large amount of capabilities for Dream Chaser. The conical shape was optimal for providing three critical functions: 

    • Room within the rocket fairing to mount unpressurized cargo
    • Strength to carry the load during ascent and orbit operations
    • Size to mate the transport vehicle passive common berthing mechanism to the space station

Business Area

Business Area Space Systems

Downloads

Space Systems Brochure 2020 (.pdf)

SNC Shooting Star Transport Vehicle (.pdf)

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