The Crew Dragon capsule, which is preparing to take four civilian astronauts into space this year, is undergoing an upgrade: a glass dome will be added at the top to give the space tourists a 360-degree view of the universe. Plans for the window were announced on Tuesday as SpaceX and the team running the tour mission, Inspiration4, revealed the full crew for the upcoming expedition.
The dome-shaped glass window replaces the Crew Dragon’s docking adapter in its nose because the spacecraft will not dock at the International Space Station. It resembles the iconic dome aboard the International Space Station, but the Crew Dragon’s appears to be an unbroken slab of glass, with no supporting structures dividing the window view.
The Crew Dragon’s Aerodynamic Protective Sheath that protects the hatch door area during launch will open to reveal the glass dome once the vehicle safely enters orbit. Based on SpaceX’s Twitter offering, the dome will fit at least one crew member from the top of the box, revealing panoramic views of the space.
Designed SpaceX Crew Dragon under a $ 2.6 billion contract from NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, a public-private initiative to spur the development of specially built space capsules that will serve as NASA’s primary journeys into space. Boeing is developing a competitor capsule, the Starliner, under the same program. The Crew Dragon is already in its operational phase and the first two crews of government astronauts flew into space last year.
NASA, which received Crew Dragon certification for astronaut flight last year, said it does not plan to use the dome version of the Crew Dragon for NASA astronaut missions and that installing the window does not require NASA’s safety approval.
“NASA currently has no plans to fly a modified version of the Dragon Crew,” said agency spokesman Josh Finch. the edge. “As a fully commercial launch, NASA does not need to approve SpaceX’s design for the company’s special missions. NASA will continue to maintain insight into SpaceX’s systems through our normal business, including sharing SpaceX flight data from non-NASA missions.”
The philanthropy-focused Mission Inspiration4, led by billionaire tech entrepreneur Jared Isacman, CEO of Shift4 Payments, is set to launch on September 15, sending Isakman and three other non-professional astronauts on a free flight in Earth orbit for three days. You’ll use Crew Dragon’s flexibility The capsule is currently docked at the International Space Station in support of NASA’s Crew 1 mission, and the glass window will be installed during the Resilience restoration in Florida after its return.
“We have completed all the engineering work, and continue to do all analysis, testing and qualification processes to ensure the safety of everything, and that it does not prevent any use of this spacecraft for other missions,” said Benjie Reed, Director of SpaceX, said the Crew Dragon Mission Department, during a press conference on Tuesday. .
Inspiration4’s crew includes Christopher Cimbrosky, an engineer from Lockheed Martin, from Everett, Washington. Cyan Proctor, University Professor from Tempe, Arizona; It was previously announced by Hayley Arceneaux, an employee of St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and a survivor of bone cancer.
The new window was announced on the same day that Richard Branson’s space tourism company, Virgin Galactic, unveiled an upgraded version of its SpaceShipTwo sub-orbital spaceplane called SpaceShip III.