Tablet-controlled with ambient lighting: Inside Boeing's next-gen spaceship
New CST-100 will shuttle NASA astronauts up to the ISS
Boeing have unveiled the interior stylings of their next-gen shuttle - the CST-100 - though the end results look more like a futuristic hotel room than a spaceship destined for the International Space Station.
The expected banks of switches and flashing lights have been replaced with "ambient sky-blue LED lighting" and smoothly curving walls, while the bulky straps of the old seats have been removed in favour of leather contraptions that look like they could double up as gym equipment.
Destined to replace the NASA Space Shuttle that was retired in 2011, the CST-100 (it stands for Crew Space Transportation) will transport up to seven astronauts up to the ISS, and its simplified interior reflects this mission:
"What you're not going to find is 1,100 or 1,600 switches," said Chris Ferguson, director of Boeing's Crew and Mission Operations and a former NASA astronaut. "When these guys go up in this, their primary mission is not to fly this spacecraft, their primary mission is to go to the space station for six months. So we don't want to burden them with an inordinate amount of training to fly this vehicle. We want it to be intuitive."
Boeing are even going to be using tablets to replace the old-fashioned controls, though there's been no confirmation whether the company will be supplying an iPad or an Android device.
Concept art of the CST-100's exterior. Image Credit: Boeing
The exterior of the capsule is one point of familiarity and with good reason: Boeing were also partly responsible for the recognisable Apollo-era capsules of the 60s and early 70s.
However, new manfacturing techniques have greatly expanded the interior space and craft durability, and the CST-100 will be constructed without any welding at all: a new process called 'spin forming' fabricates the body of the spacecraft in a method remeniscent of a potter shaping a pot.
The new shuttle is part of a continuing convergence in the US between national space industries and commercially-run companies. During the unveiling of the CST-100 NASA astronauts tested the craft for maneuverability and were shown around the vehicle that would be taking them into space.
"These are our customers," said Ferguson. "They're the ones who will take our spacecraft into flight, and if we're not building it the way they want it we're doing something wrong. We'll probably make one more go-around and make sure that everything is just the way they like it."
NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik prepares to enter the CST-100 spacecraft, which was built inside The Boeing Company's Houston Product Support Center. Image Credit: NASA/Robert Markowitz
Kathy Lueders, deputy manager of NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP), said she hoped projects such as this would help make spaceflight more widley available: "I'm really a looking forward to the day when we will be bringing our Expedition crew members home and I won't need a passport or a visa to go to the landing site and greet them as they come off the vehicle."
Life & Style blogs
10 ways we damage our teeth – without realising
'Cheeky' Nando's under fire for apparently coming onto a customer on Twitter
Facebook Messenger sends 'creepily' precise location data, as revealed by Marauders Map Chrome extension
What do the emoji on Snapchat mean?
iPhone 'effective power' text: how to be safe from iOS bug that lets people crash your phone
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
- 1 'Cheeky' Nando's under fire for apparently coming onto a customer on Twitter
- 2 Saudi Arabia mosque bombing: Two volunteer security guards hailed as heroes for stopping Isis suicide bomber reaching worshippers
- 3 Playboy model April Summers speaks out about being a victim of revenge porn
- 4 There is something wrong but very right about this Bible illustration
- 5 iPhone 'effective power' text: how to be safe from iOS bug that lets people crash your phone
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...
£20 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate Software Develop...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Web Designer is required to join a f...