Shooting Star Service Module

Sierra Space's Shooting Star™ service module 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 seven 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

CRS-2 Cargo Services

Shooting Star adds a service 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. Crew pass through Shooting Star to the forward portion where they can open the hatch and gain access to 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.

CRS-2 Cargo Services

Disposal Services

Shooting Star offers cargo disposal services for NASA. If intended for this purpose, once separated from Dream Chaser the service module 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, Sierra Space will maintain a production line for Shooting Star to support all subsequent Dream Chaser missions.

Disposal Services

Mission Solutions

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

Mission Solutions

Shooting Star FAQs

The Shooting Star service module 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 service module has unpressurized and pressurized cargo resupply capabilities. The service module also has the following hardware capabilities:

  • The Shooting Star service module is mounted to the aft portion of Dream Chaser and provides:
    • Electrical power from the solar panels mounted to the Shooting Star service module
    • Active thermal control, or cooling services
    • Dream Chaser translation and rotation capability using six thrusters mounted on the service module aft
    • The Shooting Star service module 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 service module 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 service module 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 service module can then be used for crewmembers to stow cargo for disposal.

The Shooting Star service module 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 service module can carry up to 10,000 pounds of pressurized and unpressurized cargo.

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

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

Space station crew access the Shooting Star service module via the aft hatch, which interfaces with the space station.

In order to gain access to Dream Chaser, crew will then float through the service module 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 service module is designed specifically to provide cargo disposal services for NASA. Therefore, it is disposed of when it burns up safely in the Earth’s atmosphere before Dream Chaser glides gently back onto the runway at the Kennedy Space Center.

Yes, since the Shooting Star service module is disposed on every Commercial Resupply-2 (CRS2) mission, a total of seven service modules will be built to fulfill the seven mission minimum requirement. Additional service modules will be built for future missions, as required.

The test version of the Shooting Star service module 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 service module 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 service module passive common berthing mechanism to the space station

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