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article imageMeet SpaceX's Crew Dragon that will carry astronauts into space

By Karen Graham     Jun 27, 2018 in Technology
At first glance, the Crew Dragon space capsule looks like something out of a Star Trek movie, but it's the real thing. This is the spacecraft that SpaceX will fly during its Demonstration Mission 1 flight test later this summer.
Crew Dragon is now undergoing some final testing for a scheduled unmanned launch this summer. The space capsule is at NASA's Plum Brook Station in Ohio, to undergo testing in the In-Space Propulsion Facility - The world's only facility capable of testing full-scale upper-stage launch vehicles and rocket engines under simulated high-altitude conditions.
The capsule is being placed in a chamber that will mimic the vacuum of space, as well as the extreme temperatures, to see how it handles the conditions. In the image accompanying this story, you can see the crew Dragon being lowered into the test chamber.
Crew Dragon is at @NASA’s Plum Brook Station testing facility in Ohio  home to the largest thermal...
Crew Dragon is at @NASA’s Plum Brook Station testing facility in Ohio, home to the largest thermal vacuum chamber in the world, to demonstrate its capability to withstand the extreme temperatures and vacuum of space.
SpaceX
This is the actual spacecraft that will be launched with a Falcon 9 rocket later this summer to the International Space Station (ISS). "Once complete, Crew Dragon will travel to Kennedy Space Center in Florida ahead of its first flight," SpaceX representatives wrote in an image posted last week.
One of two space transporters in NASA's corral
SpaceX's Crew Dragon - a crewed version of the space company's robotic Dragon cargo ship - is one of two commercial space transport crafts NASA will be using to ferry astronauts to and from the ISS. Boeing's CST-100 Starliner is the other. Both spacecraft are designed to carry up to seven astronauts.
SpaceX will use its Falcon 9 rocket to launch its Crew Dragon, while the Starliner will be launched on United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rocket.
This is an an artist s conception of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner.
This is an an artist's conception of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner.
NASA - Photo ID: KSC-2011-8114.
It is known that the Crew Dragon and Starliner launches are expected to take place in August from different launch pads at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. According to Spaceflight Now, Boeing's Starliner test flight is set for August 27, while a date for the SpaceX launch hasn't been set.
However, let's all hope both test flights go well. If everything does go as planned, a crewed Starliner could make its first launch in November with the SpaceX Crew Dragon making its first crewed launch in December. So the U.S. has a lot to look forward to at the end of this year.
More about Crew Dragon, Spacex, unmanned mission, Falcon 9, Astronauts
 
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