WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
Since the end of the Space Shuttle program the US has had to rely on rides from the Russians to get to the ISS, this marks America’s return to its own manned spaceflight.
After making history in 2012 as the first commercial spacecraft company to deliver cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) SpaceX has announced it’s finally finished finalising the details of its “Crew dragon” capsule that will soon be ferrying up to seven astronauts at a time between Earth and the ISS, as well as other to be announced destinations, perhaps the Moon and Mars… in outer space.
The next generation spacecraft is apparently designed with comfort in mind with seats made from the highest grade Carbon Fiber and Alcantara cloth, and four windows that will give the passengers views of the Earth, the Moon, and the rest of the solar system. Under an agreement with NASA Crew Dragon will embark on its first manned test flight later this year when it will ferry two astronauts to the ISS, and, after seven years of astronauts riding Russian rockets after the decommissioning of the space shuttle, NASA will finally be able to rely, once again, on American built spacecraft to carry its astronauts into space.
Crew Dragon will be also be the first fully autonomous spacecraft that can be monitored and controlled both by on board astronauts and by the SpaceX mission control center in Hawthorne, California, and in the event of an emergency an advanced emergency escape system in the capsule will carry astronauts to safety with G forces “less than you’ll experience at Disneyland” according to the press release.
Meanwhile the spacecraft’s on board displays will provide the astronauts with real time information on the capsule’s position, destinations, and on board environment. The capsule also features an environmental control and life support system (ECLSS) that will let the crews ride in comfort at a cosy temperature of between 18 and 26 degrees Celsius.