Elon Musk has shared an image of SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft undergoing testing inside an anechoic chamber. The Crew Dragon is an integral part of Musk’s plan to get humans to Mars.
Anechoic chambers are known as the quietest places in the world. Their sound-absorbing qualities can simulate the same conditions as space and so are used to test space-bound equipment during development.
SpaceX Crew Dragon ship in anechoic chamber for EMI testing before being sent to @NASA Plum Brook vacuum chamber pic.twitter.com/BckUBkroLw— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 21, 2018
The Crew Dragon is undergoing electromagnetic interference testing, which is done to make sure a spacecraft's electrical systems will work properly once out of Earth’s atmosphere. After this period of testing, the Crew Dragon will be shipped to NASA Plum Brook Station facility in Ohio to be tested inside the world's largest vacuum chamber.
NASA to test spacecraft in facilities built for Orion
The facility was built to test NASA’s Orion crew vehicles, but will also be able to accommodate the SpaceX equivalent. NASA is also happy to have the SpaceX equipment tested in their facilities as the two organizations have an agreement that the Crew Dragon will eventually be able to ferry NASA astronauts to the ISS.
SpaceX has said that the first manned test flight of Dragon Crew could happen as early as this year. But sources close to the Dragon’s development suggest a 2019 date is more likely.
The spacecraft has undergone a lot of changes since its initial ideation to the images that we are looking at today. The cargo iteration of Dragon made history in 2012 it became the first commercial spacecraft to deliver cargo to the International Space Station.
An act only previously achieved by government space agencies. Musk is charging ahead with Dragon Crew testing to ensure he meets his 2024 target of getting both crew and cargo to Mars.
Dragon Crew interior resembles nightclub
The Dragon Crew will have to be extensively tested both on and off Earth before such a mission could safely launch. We got a taste of what life inside the Dragon might be like for its crew when SpaceX released images of the Dragon's interior in 2015.
SpaceX says the spacecraft was designed for an ‘enjoyable ride’ and has four seats for its crew made from the ‘highest-grade carbon fiber and Alcantara cloth.’ The lucky crew will have views from the seats of ‘Earth, the Moon, and the wider Solar System'.
The same blog post describes how the interior temperature of the Crew Dragon can be manually adjustable between 18ºC and 30ºC degrees. It is a fully autonomous spacecraft. “Crew Dragon will be a fully autonomous spacecraft that can also be monitored and controlled by onboard astronauts and SpaceX mission control in Hawthorne, California,” says Space X.