Star Wars Spacecraft Becomes Real And Prepares For Launch

By Charlene Badasie | Published

Sierra Space has developed a real-life Star Wars-style spacecraft called Dream Chaser. This innovative vessel bears an uncanny resemblance to spacecraft from the fictional faraway galaxy, with its distinctive retractable wings and Space Shuttle-like fuselage. The impressive spacecraft recently arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to prepare for its maiden voyage to the International Space Station.

The Dream Chaser Tenacity

The first in Sierra Space’s Star Wars-style Dream Chaser fleet, Tenacity underwent “rigorous environmental testing” at the Neil Armstrong Test Facility in Ohio. While its first launch will test its ability to carry cargo, the company is already planning to launch human astronauts on board in the not-too-distant future.

But before Tenacity leaves on its inaugural mission, an endeavor that was announced almost two decades ago, Sierra Space still has a lot of work to do. The Star Wars-style Dream Chaser will undergo numerous tests before being attached to the United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan rocket, which will launch it into space in September.

The First Private Space Plane

space tourism

Under a contract with NASA, Dream Chaser is set to fly seven cargo missions to the ISS. It offers a renewable alternative to SpaceX’s Dragon cargo shuttle, as it can glide back to Earth and land on any runway at least 10,000 feet long, rather than relying on giant parachutes for an uncontrolled descent. It’s also the first private space plane ever built.

Designed For Atmospheric Re-Entry

space battles

The Star Wars-style Dream Chaser is currently being outfitted with heat tiles to protect it during re-entry and will need to be attached to its expendable cargo module, called Shooting Star. It’s still unclear how long the preparation process will take and whether Sierra Space will meet its ambitious September deadline.

Designed for high reusability, each Dream Chaser spacecraft is expected to be capable of at least 15 missions, though Sierra Space believes they could achieve more. The space plane’s design allows for rapid turnaround times between missions, supporting a range of low-Earth orbit operations. Sierra Space is also hoping to use global infrastructure for launches and landings.

Similar To The T-47

Since the Sierra Space Dream Chaser looks a lot like the spacecraft seen in the Star Wars universe, comparisons are inevitable. Much like the fictional T-47 Airspeeder used in The Empire Strikes Back, the Dream Chaser features an aerodynamic shape that allows it to glide through the atmosphere and land on runways.

Similar to the Rebel Alliance reusing and modifying existing ships to serve multiple purposes, the Dream Chaser is designed for high reusability. This mirrors the adaptability and longevity seen in Star Wars spacecraft, such as the Millennium Falcon, which undergoes several modifications and repairs but remains a reliable vessel throughout the film series​.

Same Functionaliaty As The Empire’s Shuttlecraft

The Dream Chaser’s dual role in transporting both cargo and crew to low-Earth orbit echoes the multifunctional nature of many Star Wars ships. For instance, the Lambda-class T-4a shuttle, commonly used by the Empire, transports troops, dignitaries, and cargo, showcasing a similar versatility to the Dream Chaser’s mission profile​.

These parallels highlight how real-world innovations can draw inspiration from the imaginative realms of science fiction and vice versa.

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