With the SpaceX Crew Dragon currently in the testing phase, Elon Musk decided to tease his fans on social media with the design of the spacecraft.
What Did Elon Musk Reveal About The SpaceX Crew Dragon?
On May 20, Musk shared a photo to social media of the SpaceX Crew Dragon ship as it is being tested for electromagnetic interference. It is currently docked in an anechoic chamber.
Previous modules were only able to ship cargo to space and conduct scientific missions. This particular autonomous spacecraft is being designed to include a human crew.
It has been in design since 2013, one year after the first SpaceX Dragon made a successful cargo delivery to the International Space Station.
As of May 18, Musk’s Instagram post has been liked over 400,000 times.
What Is Special About The SpaceX Crew Dragon?
SpaceX says that the Crew Dragon has been developed as an “enjoyable” trip through space so that passengers can feel “comfortable and safe.”
Inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon, the monitors display real-time information. The spacecraft can hold up to seven passengers. Each seat is mounted with carbon fiber and Alcantara cloth to provide comfort. The technology ensures that the temperatures are always kept between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. There are also four huge windows that offer an incredible view of the surroundings.
To protect the passengers during re-entry, SpaceX included a phenolic impregnated carbon ablator heat shield. In case of an emergency, there is a built-in escape system in the engines that will help the spacecraft arrive back on Earth safely.
One of the most impressive technical features is the spacecraft’s unique ability to land back on Earth for refueling purposes.
The capsule, also known as the pressurized section of the spacecraft, has enough space for both crew and passengers. Unpressurized cargo can get stored in the trunk, which also houses solar arrays for the ship. The total launch payload mass for the SpaceX Crew Dragon exceeds 13,000 pounds.
What Is Next For The SpaceX Crew Dragon?
After the current testing is complete, the SpaceX Crew Dragon will be sent to NASA’s vacuum chamber at Plum Brook Station in Cleveland, Ohio.
If the testing goes well in Ohio, then the spacecraft could head to Cape Canaveral, Florida for a demonstration with a flight crew. This test could occur as early as August 2018. SpaceX said that its ultimate goal was to send people to Mars by 2024 in this spacecraft.