Sierra Space, based in Colorado, presented its new spaceship called Tenatic, which has a futuristic design reminiscent of something out of a science fiction novel or the Star Wars series. The unveiling took place at the Nile Armstrong testing center in Sandaski, Ohio, where the Dream Chaser cosmoplane and a cargo module were also showcased.
Unlike the NASA cosmic shuttle, the Tenatic cosmoplane features rounded forms and smooth, aerodynamic wings, giving it a more futuristic appearance. Standing at 55 feet (approximately 16.8 meters) tall, the Tenatic will be launched vertically on the Vulcan Centaur missile from the United Launch Alliance. This same missile successfully sent the Astrobotic lunar landing module earlier this year.
One notable feature of the Tenatic cosmoplane is its ability to glide back to Earth using its wings after reentering the atmosphere. This innovative method offers an alternative to traditional parachutes and ocean landings, ensuring a safer return for the cargo. The first unmanned flight of the Tenatic to the International Space Station (ISS) is scheduled for the first half of this year as a demonstration mission.
Prior to the ISS mission, the cosmoplane and its cargo module will undergo a series of tests to simulate the extreme conditions of space. These tests will take place in a thermovacuum chamber, replicating the environments encountered during launch and spaceflight on the Vulcan rocket. Sierra Space CEO, Tom Weiss, emphasized the extensive preparations made over the past six years, including the development of control and aerodynamics systems, in readiness for this milestone.
Sierra Space has established a partnership with NASA in the field of commercial space transportation, similar to the successful collaboration with SpaceX. Sierra Space is now competing with other major players in the space industry for the delivery of goods and astronauts to Earth’s orbit.