When you leave Planet Earth for the first time – and some of you reading this may very well do just that in your lifetime – there’s a fair chance your ride will look a little something like this.
SpaceX has offered a tantalising first glimpse inside its rejigged Crew Dragon spacecraft, which has now had its internals done over to allow human passengers to make the trip into space.
The vessel made history in 2012 as the first commercial vehicle to deliver cargo both to and from the International Space Station (ISS), but the cargo hold has now been renovated to make way for futuristic-looking seats, along with viewing screens, four windows, and control panels.
Everything looks amazing, but for our money, the sleek design might even be a little too lushly contemporary. The smooth Apple-meets–2001 interiors look absolutely fantastic from an aesthetic standpoint, but what appears to be a touch panel in the image directly below features starkly contrasting operational buttons side by side.
‘Cabin Depress’, ‘Deorbit Now’, and ‘Deorbit Next’ are directly adjacent to one another in what seems like a casually dangerous configuration. Maybe they’re just indicators – and Crew Dragon is largely autonomously controlled in any case – but if they’re buttons you certainly wouldn’t want to bump the wrong one by accident, folks.
For the immediate future, Crew Dragon will carry trained NASA astronauts only. The spacecraft is scheduled to take a crew of four to the ISS in 2017 in what will be the first commercial flight carrying NASA astronauts. Hopefully we won’t have too long to wait until SpaceX flights for private passengers are a possibility - although nobody knows exactly when that will happen just yet.
With that in mind, there’s one last thing to note – and it could be important. As helpfully pointed out by Sarah Fecht over at Popular Science, there’s no bathroom on board the Crew Dragon. We’d advise any aspiring astronauts to bear this in mind and avoid any embarrassing (and potentially dangerous) “I told you to go before we left” moments.
Either make peace with wearing your Maximum Absorbency Garment, or make the necessary preparations before lift-off.