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Saturday, September 12, 2015

SpaceX Unveils New Interior of Crew Dragon Spacecraft

As reported by MashableIt was about time: Crew Dragon, SpaceX's new spacecraft designed for crewed missions to the International Space Station and beyond, finally gives astronauts the level of comfort they deserve.
The first photos and video of Crew Dragon's interior, published Thursday, show a sleek, modern space with four windows, seats made of "highest-grade" carbon fiber and Alcantara cloth, and plenty of displays to provide the crew with real-time info on the spacecraft's situation.
According to SpaceX, the astronauts aboard the Crew Dragon will be able to set the interior temperature to between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, using the built-in Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS). The capsule also has an advanced emergency escape system (which was tested in May), and all of its functions can be controlled both autonomously, by astronauts on board, or by SpaceX's mission control on Earth.

SpaceX currently holds a contract with NASA to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station, with the first flights expected to start by 2017.
Boeing, which also holds a contract to fly crew to the Space Station for NASA, gave a new name to its spacecraft for crewed missions just last week, calling it the CST-100 Starliner. The Starliner is designed to carry seven astronauts, and is expected to make its first flight to the ISS in 2017.

Crew Dragon

Crew Dragon has a multitude of displays, providing the capsule's passengers with vital, real-time info.

Right now, NASA buys seats for American astronauts on Russia's Soyuz spacecraft to get to the ISS. The Commercial Crew Program will hopefully change that, though the funding for the program has not yet been fully sorted out, causing NASA Administrator Charles Bolden to send a sternly worded letter to Congress back in August.