Manned space capsules are not known for their luxurious interiors, as space agencies choose to focus on practicality and reliability rather than snazziness. Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which is competing with Boeing Co to become the first private firm to take humans to space, wants to change that.
Astronauts in 2017 might just be journeying to the International Space Station in style, in a capsule that resembles -- at least on the inside -- a luxury sports car. On Thursday, the Hawthorne, California-based company released the first photos of its futuristic Crew Dragon ship, showing a sleek, smooth and mostly black-and-white interior.
“Crew Dragon was designed to be an enjoyable ride. With four windows, passengers can take in views of Earth, the Moon, and the wider Solar System right from their seats,” the company said, in a statement on its website. Additionally, the ship will have a climate-control system that will allow astronauts to set the temperature in the capsule between 65 degrees and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
“Crew Dragon’s displays will provide real-time information on the state of the spacecraft’s capabilities – anything from Dragon’s position in space, to possible destinations, to the environment on board,” the company said, in the statement.
SpaceX is developing the Crew Dragon capsule for NASA as part of the space agency’s Commercial Crew Program.
NASA has so far awarded both SpaceX and Boeing contracts, to manufacture and operate crew vehicles to ferry U.S. astronauts to and from the ISS, in a move aimed at reducing America’s dependence on Russian Soyuz rockets.
However, while SpaceX has carried out tests to see if the Crew Dragon capsule can keep astronauts safe, and its robotic Dragon capsules have successfully carried out resupply missions to the ISS, the company has faced a series of failures with its Falcon 9 rockets, which will eventually carry the Crew Dragon capsule to the space station.
In June, a Falcon 9 rocket carrying crucial supplies of food, fuel, water and spare parts exploded shortly after launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida. SpaceX founder Musk later attributed the failure of the mission to the company's “complacency” following a slew of successful launches.