SpaceX releases interior photos of manned Dragon spacecraft to deliver astronauts for first time in May

On Friday, local time, U.S. space exploration technology company SpaceX released the first internal photos of its manned Dragon spacecraft. The company and NASA plan to launch their first manned launch within two months, the first time in nearly a decade that an American-made spacecraft has been launched from home.

SpaceX releases interior photos of manned Dragon spacecraft to deliver astronauts for first time in May图1:美国宇航局宇航员鲍勃·本肯和道格·赫尔利于3月30日进入SpaceX准备发射的载人龙飞船,为5月份首次载人飞行做准备

SpaceX plans to launch a manned Dragon spacecraft in mid-to-late May, which will be the most important and historic launch in the company’s history. If the plan goes well, the manned Dragon’s Demo-2 mission could make SpaceX the first company in history to use privately built rockets and spacecraft to put humans into orbit.

SpaceX releases interior photos of manned Dragon spacecraft to deliver astronauts for first time in May图2:虽然NASA的宇航员曾多次被拍到(摄于2019年8月)进入霍桑完全相同的载人龙飞船内,但最新照片显示了其内部真实情况

What’s more, it will be the first time the U.S. has launched astronauts on home soil since the cancellation of NASA’s space shuttle program in 2011. Since then, the U.S. has relied on Russian Soyuz spacecraft to pick up its astronauts, carrying out a total of 34 missions, and is likely to buy a small number of extra seats for more than $85 million each.

Thanks to the success of the Commercial Astronaut program, NASA will soon be able to launch its own astronauts again, despite a delay of several years. Although Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft costs about $90 million per seat, or even more than the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, spaceX’s manned Dragon spacecraft could cost as little as $55 million, which could save NASA tens of millions of dollars in transporting astronauts.

SpaceX releases interior photos of manned Dragon spacecraft to deliver astronauts for first time in May图3:同样的宇航员,但他们这次进入了真正的载人龙飞船内部

Now, for the first time, SpaceX has released photos showing the interior of its first manned flight. Unsurprisingly, the photos show the real spacecraft and SpaceX’s simulator in Hawthorne, California, in almost identical locations.

Over the past 18 months, NASA astronauts assigned to SpaceX’s first manned mission have been trained almost never to learn how to operate the spacecraft. Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will support the historic first flight of the manned Dragon spacecraft, which has attracted countless attention.

SpaceX releases interior photos of manned Dragon spacecraft to deliver astronauts for first time in May图4:2019年8月,本肯和赫尔利在飞船模拟器上测试了载人龙飞船的显示器和软件

SpaceX provided an interior view of the manned Dragon spacecraft when it debuted in The Demo-1 orbitin in March 2019, but at the time there were no manned spacecraft and no display and control modules installed on it, and the interior was incomplete. Now, NASA says the manned Dragon spacecraft is “conducting final tests and pre-launch processing” a few kilometers from the Kennedy Space Center launch site.

The process “opens up more simulations, final crew training and flight readiness reviews,” some of which could involve NASA’s Demo-2 astronauts landing the spacecraft for the first time and conducting a thorough check of the capsule, according to the report.

SpaceX releases interior photos of manned Dragon spacecraft to deliver astronauts for first time in May图5:今年2月份,SpaceX公布了安装在载人龙飞船上显示和控制模块的第一张照片

Meanwhile, at the 39A launch site at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), NASA posted a photo of SpaceX’s latest Falcon 9 rocket, which is scheduled to send NASA astronauts into space in about two months. The rocket uses a brand new booster and will attempt to land on the unmanned recovery ship OCISLY a few minutes after liftoff.

In short, SpaceX’s historic first manned launch is making rapid progress. NASA insists that the Launch Time of the Demo-2 will be “mid-to-late May” and is now only 6-8 weeks away.