You may know that SpaceX and Tesla, the electric car maker, are run by the same man, Elon Musk. In the new images Space X released recently of the sleek interior of their "Crew Dragon,” their spacecraft designed to carry astronauts to the International Space Station, and possibly beyond, you can see the car maker influence. In contrast to Boeing’s consistently functional aesthetic, Space X’s interior is, well, for lack of a better term… nice! If you were an astronaut, out some Saturday afternoon, comparing space capsules, you would probably pick the Dragon. In the car metaphor, think of Boeing as, maybe GMC, and Space X as … well, Tesla.
Space X claims their futuristic interior is, "designed to be an enjoyable ride.” So let’s run down some of the standard features: four windows to provide passengers with multiple views of Earth below, and above, the moon, and the wider solar system, right from their seats. And speaking of the seats, though at first glance they might not look all that plush, they’re made from high strength, low weight carbon fiber and Alcantara cloth. Before you go off to Wikipedia to look this up, it’s composed of about 68% polyester and 32% polyurethane, which gives it increased durability and stain resistance, and the look and feel of suede.
Remember 2001: A Space Odyssey, and how you thought the future was going to look like that: spaceships clean lines and black and white interiors? Well, it took a few years, but it seems the designers at Space X saw that movie too, because the interior of their capsule is sleek, and modern looking, with nothing unneeded, but everything that is is kind of … beautiful. There’s even a computer screen that looks just a little reminiscent of the HAL-9000 Computer.
Earlier this year, NASA named the four astronauts who will be the first to fly this sleek new space machine. This flight will be the first of the U.S. commercial spaceflights in either SpaceX or Boeing crew transportation vehicles. Both of these companies have an agreement with NASA that for the initial flights of both commercial crew vehicles, at least one member of the two person crews will be a NASA astronaut. In a recent statement about these initial flights, NASA said that their astronauts will be "on board to verify the fully-integrated rocket and spacecraft system can launch, maneuver in orbit, and dock to the space station, as well as validate all systems perform as expected, and land safely.” The second member of the crew will most likely be a company test pilot from Space X or Boeing respectively. NASA and the two companies are still working those details out.