Even if you’re not even remotely interested in Sci-Fi, chances are you’ve thought about what it would be like to travel to space.
With people like Tesla (and SpaceX) founder Elon Musk and Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson planning to send ordinary people into space — provided they’ve got enough funds to plonk down on a seat reservation — we’ll soon be flipping through brochures to decide where in the galaxy we’d like to spend our next vacation. But what will the vessel that will take us to that holiday destination look like?
To give us an idea, Boeing, along with and partner Bigelow Aerospace, decided to provide a glimpse into the commercial interior of its Crew Space Transportation (CST-100) next-generation manned space capsule, which shows how paying customers may one day travel to space.
The capsule, which is being developed for NASA as part of its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability initiative, is designed to transport up to seven crew members or a mix of crew and cargo to low-Earth-orbit destinations such as the International Space Station and a planned Bigelow station.
“We are moving into a truly commercial space market and we have to consider our potential customers — beyond NASA — and what they need in a future commercial spacecraft interior,” said Chris Ferguson, former Space Shuttle Atlantis commander and current Boeing director of Crew and Mission Operations for the Commercial Crew Program.
To that end, engineers from across Boeing leveraged the company’s decades of experience in commercial and government aerospace to design the capsule’s interior. The result is an environment that is organic in its shapes and forms, with a suspended ‘pilot’ seat hovering over the passenger’s lounge-like seats. The minimalist cockpit proves only switches and screens for the captain, which kind of makes you wonder what passengers are expected to do as they travel to their destination.
Lining the bulkhead are a series of rather large portholes, providing a view of the passing galaxy outside, but these seem rather high and abnormally large for a spacecraft. The thin — presumably lightweight — seats are spread out around small islands, which will likely double as storage containers, while the grooved floor through the cabin seems to have been implemented to provide traction for star-struck passengers trying to reach the restroom.
One of the more conventional design elements is the indirect mood-lighting in the ceiling above, which is meant to provide travellers with a visual link to more familiar place, according to Rachelle Ornan, regional sales and marketing director for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Designing the next-generation interior for commercial space is a natural progression [for Boeing]. A familiar daytime blue sky scene helps passengers maintain their connection with Earth.”
Though the image above is clearly just a render to whet our appetites, we can’t wait to see what the finished product will look like…
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