NASA astronauts launch yet again from American soil, aboard a retro-styled “Right Stuff” capsule. Don’t mix that up with the old capsule that you might have previously heard of.
The new Dragon crew capsule built by SpaceX is better than NASA’s old
The capsule has clean lines and a minimalist interior. The company ditched the more traditional switches and knobs and replaced them with touchscreens, making the good old space shuttle look outdated.
The flamboyant reimagination of the vintage look can be observed in all its glory on Wednesday when SpaceX will launch NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the ISS (International Space Station). The event is significant because it’s the first time a private company attempts such a task.
The launch will happen at a now consecrated historic pad that was used for past similar missions.
The destination is significant – Russia’s Soyuz capsules, which are now more than fifty years old, have been a temporary home to several NASA astronauts.
The Soyuz has proven its reliability and successfully passed the test of time, but it looks dated when compared to the Dragon.
Benji Reed, a SpaceX mission director, stated:
“We want it to not only be as safe and reliable as you’d expect from the most advanced spacecraft in the world … we also want it to look amazing and look beautiful.”
One quirk of the mission is how Boeing and SpaceX, NASA’s main partners, opted for capsules straight from the start.
Initially, a third company suggested an airplane-like design that ended up rejected since it was a lot like the Space Shuttle, which had a different purpose.
Steve Payne, retired NASA manager, said:
“What we’re trying to do now is just taxi service up and down, and you don’t need the huge semi anymore. You can use a sedan.”