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South African billionaire Elon Musk teased the Crew Dragon this morning when he shared a photo of the spacecraft on Instagram.
Mr Musk snapped the photo of the spacecraft in an anechoic chamber – a test room completely devoid of sound and electromagnetic wave reflections.
The SpaceX founder wrote: “SpaceX Crew Dragon ship in an anechoic chamber for EMI testing before being sent to NASA’s Plum Brook vacuum chamber.”
The Crew Dragon module has been in development for about five years and the rocket manufacturer is finally revealing the spacecraft to the world.
The original Cargo Dragon module made history in 2012 when SpaceX delivered the world’s first commercial cargo flight to the International Space Station (ISS).
SpaceX has now designed the new craft to specifically deliver human crews into space.
The rocket company teased: “Dragon was also designed from the beginning to carry people, and today SpaceX is finalising the necessary refinements to make that a reality.”
SpaceX claims to have designed the Crew Dragon to be an “enjoyable” blast through the atmosphere.
The spacecraft features four windows for the passengers to enjoy the breathtaking views of the Earth below, the moon and the solar system.
The seven seats mounted in the cockpit were made from the “highest-grade carbon fibre and Alcantara cloth” to maximise comfort.
A set of monitors over the seats will display real-time information about the spacecraft’s status, position in space and onboard life support systems.
SpaceX boasted the onboard Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) will provide astronauts with a “comfortable and safe environment” during the trip.
Temperatures inside the Crew Dragon will be manually adjustable between 18ºC and 30ºC degrees.
SpaceX said: “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.”
In the event of an emergency, the rocket manufacturer devised an emergency escape system which will send the astronauts barrelling back towards Earth and safety.
The system will see the Crew Dragon abort its trajectory and jettison the spacecraft back to the ground below before engaging parachutes for a safe landing.
SpaceX claimed the forces acting on the spacecraft during an aborted mission will be about the same as the G-forces on a ride at Disneyland.
The original Dragon module was designed from the outset to send humans into space and the new Crew updates are being carried out in partnership with NASA.
The US-based rocket manufacture claims the Crew Dragon will be the world’s “safest and most reliable” crew transport vehicle upon completion.
The module will soon be tested at NASA’s Plum Brook facilities which are touted to be the “world’s largest and most powerful space environment simulation.”
The central goal of the Crew Dragon is to develop a refuel-able spacecraft module to cut on costs of manned missions – much like the reusable SpaceX Falcon 9 booster rockets.
The first manned flight of the Crew Dragon is expected to take place before the end of 2018.
Mr Musk tweeted earlier this month he hopes to deliver the Crew Dragon to Cape Canaveral, Florida, for a demonstration around August this year.