The Dream Chaser spaceplane has moved one step closer to take-off, after the company behind the project unveiled the rocket it will launch from.
The plane is designed to ferry cargo to the International Space Station, delivering supplies and equipment to the astronauts working on the satellite.
Its first journey is set for 2021, and on Wednesday the Vulcan Centaur was announced as the rocket that will take it there.
It will run six missions to the ISS once it has been completed, delivering more than 12,000 pounds of pressurized and unpressurized cargo to the station.
The plane will then serve as an “orbiting laboratory” for up to 75 days, before taking around 7,000 pounds of trash from the station back to earth.
“Dream Chaser can launch from any conventional rocket so we had great options,” said Fatih Ozmen, CEO of the Sierra Nevada Corporation, which is managing the Dream Chaser project under contract for NASA.
“SNC selected ULA because of our strong collaboration on the Dream Chaser program, their proven safety record and on-time performance. This is bringing America’s spaceplane and America’s rocket together for best-of-breed innovation and exploration,” he added.
The re-usable plane has been undergoing testing at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California.