From the outside, Boeing’s CST-100 spacecraft model resembles a high-tech gumdrop. On the inside, it’s a spacious, LED-glowing dream. The new commercial vehicle is designed to transport NASA astronauts to and from low Earth orbit. Boeing recently unveiled the interior for the first time.
Bigelow Aerospace constructed the capsule’s exterior shell, which is 14.8 feet wide. Inside the vehicle are two rows of seats for five astronauts. Two additional seats can be added if necessary to fit up to seven passengers.
Passengers enter from the side hatch and exit from the overhead hatch upon docking to the International Space Station, and frontal and portal windows will offer views of space (eee!). The control console, which features touch-panel digital displays, hands above the two front seats for easy access. The CST-100 also fits a freezer in order to preserve science experiments in-flight.
One of the most distinctive features of the design is the purple glow emanating from within the cabin. This is Boeing’s “Sky Interior” LED lighting designed to create a calming environment for the astronauts.
There’s still one crucial thing missing: the capsule has yet to feature a waste-containment component. Oh well, surely astronauts can hold it for at least 5 hours and 39 minutes.
CST-100’s first piloted orbital flight is on schedule for 2016. NASA expects to be able to buy seats on commercially-operated flights to the space station the following year.