SpaceX’s Dragon, now with seating for seven

Mar 19, 2012 By Nancy Atkinson, Universe Today
Inside the SpaceX Dragon capsule, testing out the seating arrangement for a crew of seven. Test crew included (from top left): NASA Crew Survival Engineering Team Lead Dustin Gohmert, NASA Astronaut Tony Antonelli, NASA Astronaut Lee Archambault, SpaceX Mission Operations Engineer Laura Crabtree, SpaceX Thermal Engineer Brenda Hernandez, NASA Astronaut Rex Walheim, and NASA Astronaut Tim Kopra. Credit: Roger Gilbertson / SpaceX

So much for the idea that space capsules are cramped and can only carry a limited crew. SpaceX revealed a prototype for their new crew cabin design, as they conducted a joint daylong review with NASA of the Dragon crew vehicle layout. In this configuration, the Dragon will be able to carry a crew of seven, the same number the space shuttle could carry. Using a Dragon engineering model equipped with seats and representations of crew systems, they were able to get assessments and feedback from engineers and four NASA astronauts on interior amenities such as lighting, environmental control and life support systems, displays, cargo racks, and the all important seating system. The evaluators participated in human factors assessments which covered entering and exiting Dragon under both normal and contingency cases, as well as reach and visibility evaluations. . Photo: SpaceXwhich they say will work well for astronauts in both regular and emergency (that’s ‘off-nominal’ in NASA-speak) scenarios.

See more images from the review, below, along with a video from the initial tests of the SuperDraco engines that will power the launch escape system.

SpaceX and NASA conducted a daylong review of the Dragon crew vehicle layout using the Dragon engineering model equipped with seats and representations of crew systems. Credit: SpaceX

Plus, as a heads-up, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk will be on the US television show “60 Minutes” on Sunday, March 18, 2012. You can see a preview here, (which includes a touching scene of Musk talking about his heros) and check your local listings here.

Even with all seven crewmembers in their seats, there is enough interior space for three additional people to stand and assist the crew with their launch preparations — or for the CEO to kibitz with the crew.

The seven seats mount to strong, lightweight supporting structures attached to the pressure vessel walls. Each seat can hold an adult up to 1.95 meters tall (6 feet 5 inches) and weighing 113 kg (250 lbs), and has a liner that is custom-fit for each crewmember.

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User comments : 5

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2 / 5 (8) Mar 19, 2012
The sooner these guys start service the better. Our space program will be back in this country but even better, it will be in private hands. Hopefully, this will encourage more private space initiative.
3.8 / 5 (4) Mar 19, 2012
I'm confident that SpaceX will be the next program to place people in LEO. Their efforts with Stratolaunch will make full reusability possible, further reducing the costs. By the time Orion is operational, it will be the Model T at Rolls-Royce prices of space.

NASA would best focus its efforts on a non-manrated super-heavy lifter.
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 19, 2012
Things move quickly when you have a huge source of funding. Hopefully, the safety part of this project is being taken care of too.
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 20, 2012
Roger that dschlink... the orion has already been rendered obsolete by the dragon. I mean the dragon has freagin rockets attached to the sides of its walls for escape and eventual landing purposes!
1 / 5 (2) Mar 20, 2012
Elon Musk is a true pioneer! He says he can send people mars for Half a Million Dollers!!!
Listen to his interview!

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