Boeing is gunning for the contract to transport NASA astronauts to the International Space Station, and yesterday it showed off its latest design for the insides of its intergalactic ferry, the CST-100 Space Capsule.
The gumdrop-shaped module is 4.5 m wide and can fit up to seven astronauts. Bigelow Airspace constructed most of the exterior and Boeing handled most of the insides, which looks like what you'd expect from a commercial aircraft made by a company that makes half of the planes you regular Earth travellers fly in. The CST-100 has two rows of seats, plenty of cargo storage, and a freezer to transport scientific experiments. Controls feature shuttle-era switches, hand controllers, a touchscreen display, and are mounted above the first row of seats. There's also a giant front window with a portal on either side.
One important thing is missing though, and that's the waste management system. This is the second iteration of the interior of Boeing's commercial spacecraft, so they're still exploring options for how to handle the toilet situation, from adult diapers to mechanical devices.
While two astronauts strapped into the CST-100 yesterday, they didn't leave the station — the vessel won't actually take its first orbital flight until 2016. And even then, we don't know if it'll nab the contract. It's also competing with SpaceX and Sierra Nevada. But Boeing, of course, is the most experienced in the field, so we'll see how this puppy actually flies when the time comes for a test drive. [CollectSpace via Space.com]