SpaceX fans, wannabe astronauts, and curious technophiles got a long-awaited glimpse inside the Crew Dragon spacecraft Thursday via a virtual tour posted on YouTube by the private space company.
SpaceX's newest spacecraft will one day fly astronauts to the International Space Station and beyond, that is, if all goes according to billionaire founder Elon Musk's plan.
“Dragon made history in 2012 when it became the first commercial spacecraft to deliver cargo to the space station, a feat previously achieved only by governments,” The SpaceX website reads, “But Dragon was also designed from the beginning to carry people, and today SpaceX is finalizing the necessary refinements to make that a reality.”
Those refinements include safety and abort tests, manned trials, and the inevitable slew of design revisions, but also include the bells and whistles. In this latest unveiling, SpaceX aims to show they aren't cutting corners.
The interior features a classic white and black color scheme, with four prominent windows that will provide views of Earth, the moon, and the rest of the solar system, and a sleek, gleaming console that looks like something from the future.
The craft was designed for performance, but also intends to offer future passengers a luxurious ride. The environmental control allows astronauts to set the temperature to anything within 65 to 80 degrees, all while traveling through space and the Earth’s atmosphere. If something catastrophic were to occur, the emergency escape system would carry astronauts to safety as they experience “about the same G-forces as a ride at Disneyland,” according to the company website.
The control panel, the only splash of color, sits in the front of the capsule and offers a view of “the state of the spacecraft’s capabilities – anything from Dragon’s position in space, to possible destinations, to the environment on board.” The Crew Dragon is fully autonomous but can also be controlled by either the astronauts on board or technicians at SpaceX mission control on Earth.
The Crew Dragon will be put to the test with human passengers following a 2017 abort test and an unmanned test flight to the International Space Station, according to Space.com.