Various economic activities in space are set to soon become “business as usual,” with the commercial space sector growing at a fast rate. One of the essential assets for that are represented by spaceplanes, these intriguing vehicles that fly to outer space while also acting as regular aircraft in the Earth’s atmosphere. One of them, the Dream Chaser, just got a giant boost.
Sierra Space claims to have developed the only orbital commercial spaceplane in the world, an unmanned, reusable aircraft that can theoretically land on any runway, anywhere on the planet. The project was considered interesting enough for NASA to sign a big contract with the manufacturer for cargo missions to the International Space Station (ISS), once the vehicle is completed.
Adding to this success, Sierra Space just secured a whopping $1.4 billion funding in its first-series capital raise. It looks like this amount is not only the biggest capital raise in the aerospace and defense sector in 2021 but also the second-largest private one to ever be accomplished in this sector. The company stated that this financial boost will accelerate the Dream Chaser’s development, which is already in its final stages.
But this versatile flying vehicle, which can be configured for cargo or defense applications, is part of a bigger project. Sierra Space has also envisioned the Large Integrated Flexible Environment (LIFE) Habitat, a modular, three-story platform that can be adapted for business, commercial activities, or science-related programs. The future spaceplane and habitat are part of a complex commercial space station. The space station will be called Orbital Reef and is being developed together with Blue Origin.
This significant funding confirms that there’s a major interest in innovative space transportation systems and the related infrastructure, as space is seen as a future platform for all kinds of businesses.
Dream Chaser is set to begin the first cargo resupply missions in 2022.