Enter the Dragon: Here's What It's Like Inside New SpaceX Capsule

October 16, 2017 – 08:04 am

Image: DragonThe inside of SpaceX's Dragon V2 spaceship is the latest, greatest shiny object in the space business, but what really got me was sitting back in one of its form-hugging seats. It felt like sitting in a race car.

After Thursday night's glitzy debut of the capsule SpaceX is planning to use to send NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station, VIPs and journalists got a chance to climb up a set of stairs, crouch through the hatch and check out the interior.

There's about as much room inside this Dragon as there is inside the uncrewed Dragons that are currently used to transport cargo to orbit: roughly 380 cubic feet. That's way more than the 210 cubic feet that the Apollo capsule set aside for its three astronauts during missions to the moon, or the 230 cubic feet allotted to the three-person crews in Russia's Soyuz orbital module. But the Dragon isn't built to seat just three: Seven seats are stacked inside, in rows of four and three.

NBC News' Alan Boyle is framed by the hatch of the Dragon V2 capsule unveiled by SpaceX. NBC News

Image: SpaceX DragonThose seats aren't plush, but the leather-like upholstery did seem to hug me comfortably as I sat back where a pilot would sit. Once the spacefliers get settled, the pilot can fold down a wide control panel with four touchscreens to monitor spacecraft systems. Several portholes are set into the wall, but the touchscreens and other readouts are more likely to be what the astronauts are focusing on during launch and re-entry.

Maybe if there were six more people, extra padding and a ton of pressurized cargo in the Dragon with me, it'd feel cramped. But when I was in the bare-bones capsule by myself, the furnishings seemed spare. And that's the feeling that Elon Musk, SpaceX's billionaire founder, CEO and chief designer, is going for.

"We're aiming for something with Dragon Version 2, for the interfaces and for the overall aesthetic [to be] something that's very clean, very simple, " he said as he showed off the interior.

What'll it take to put astronauts in a Dragon?

It almost sounded as if he was showing off the latest luxury car from Tesla, the electric-car company that Musk also heads. But this ride trumps Tesla: Musk estimated that the sticker price might start at around $20 million per seat, which translates to $140 million for a seven-person launch. That much money would buy 2, 000 Tesla Model S sedans.


Source: www.nbcnews.com

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