Boeing shows off interior of next-gen space capsule

cst-100 interiorBoeing this week opened the hatch to the interior of its next-generation space capsule, the CST-100, capable of seating up to seven astronauts on missions to and from the International Space Station.

The company, better known for its commercial aircraft business than its space-related work, created the capsule with a $570 million investment from NASA. Boeing is also investing its own money in the project.

At a special event at Boeing’s Houston Product Support Center in Texas, astronauts Serena Aunon and Randy Bresnik donned NASA’s famous orange launch-and-entry suits and climbed inside the capsule, allowing them, and the media, to give the interior the once over.

“[The astronauts] are our customers. 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,” said former astronaut Chris Ferguson, now working as Boeing’s director of crew and mission operations. “We’ll probably make one more go-around and make sure that everything is just the way they like it.”


Although the CST-100 resembles the old Apollo modules from the 60s and 70s (Boeing had a hand in building those too, after all), this one is much larger, with enough space for up to seven astronauts – or four plus cargo – compared to just three in the old capsules. It can also be used for up to 10 missions.

According to Ferguson, simplicity is at the heart of the capsule’s design.

“What you’re not going to find is 1,100 or 1,600 switches,” he said. “When these guys go up in this, they’re primary mission is not to fly this spacecraft, they’re 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.”

cst-100 and astronaut

The interior features ambient sky blue LED lighting – presumably to create an atmosphere of tranquility and calm among the astronauts as they hurtle to and from space at breakneck speed – and controls which incorporate tablet technology, although tech companies haven’t yet had a chance to fight over the contract.

Two hatches enable entry and exit – one on the side for Earth-based boarding and alighting, and one on the top through which astronauts will enter the space station, while windows ahead of the control panel and to the side will offer the astronauts views of the blue planet and beyond.

And in case you were wondering, no, there isn’t a toilet on board.

“We have a couple of options,” Boeing engineer Tony Castilleja told “It’s all about reducing mass, so we do not have a true space toilet like the shuttle did because we just don’t have the room in this vehicle. But there are some design alternatives that we’re looking at, from diapers to mechanical devices.”

Boeing is one of three companies working to create efficient and safe transportation systems to transport NASA astronauts to and from low Earth orbit, with Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and Sierra Nevada Corporation also working on designs.

The CST-100’s first should test flight is expected to take place in the next three to four years.

[Source: NASA]


Has Columbus, Ohio raised its IQ yet? A progress report from the mayor

Two years ago, the city of Columbus in Ohio received $40 million to pursue smart city initiatives. So, what’s happened since then? We spoke with its mayor, Andrew Ginther, to discuss progress and what’s ahead.

These fitness deals come just in time to work off those holiday calories

Finding the motivation to work out is one thing. Finding space at home to get in a few sets and reps can be an entire challenge in itself. Luckily for you, Walmart and Amazon both have space saving fitness machines and tools on sale right…

How to delete games on your PS4

PlayStation 4 games eat up storage space quickly, which will inevitably require you to make room for new games. Here's how to delete and reinstall games on PS4 for those times when you have to manage your storage space.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX’s ISS mission was a success — but the landing didn’t go as planned

Two days after its most recent launch, SpaceX launched another Falcon 9 rocket today from Cape Canaveral. However, while the launch went well, the landing had some issues. Here's what happened.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Emerging Tech

Hear the sounds of wind on Mars from InSight’s latest audio recording

NASA's InSight craft has captured the sound of the wind blowing on the surface of Mars. The audio file was picked up by the air pressure sensor and the seismometer which detected vibrations from the 10 to 15 mph winds in the area.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

New experiment casts doubt on claims to have identified dark matter

A South Korean experiment called COSINE-100 has attempted to replicate the claims of dark matter observed by the Italian DAMA/LIBRA experiment, but has failed to replicate the observations.
Emerging Tech

White dwarf star unexpectedly emitting bright ‘supersoft’ X-rays

NASA's Chandra Observatory has discovered a white dwarf star which is emitting supersoft X-rays, calling into question the conventional wisdom about how X-rays are produced by dying stars.

Amazon scouted airport locations for its cashier-free Amazon Go stores

Representatives of Amazon Go checkout-free retail stores connected with officials at Los Angeles and San Jose airports in June to discuss the possibility of cashier-free grab-and-go locations in busy terminals.
Emerging Tech

Full-fledged drone delivery service set to land in remote Canadian community

Some drone delivery operations seem rather crude in their execution, but Drone Delivery Canada is building a comprehensive platform that's aiming to take drone delivery to the next level.
Emerging Tech

It’s no flying car, but the e-scooter had a huge impact on city streets in 2018

Within just a year, electric scooters have fundamentally changed how we navigate cities. From San Francisco to Paris, commuters have a new option that’s more fun than mass transit, easier than a bike, and definitely not a car.
Emerging Tech

Intel wants its fleet of drones to monitor America’s aging, unsafe bridges

Intel has signed a deal to use its Falcon 8+ drones to carry out bridge inspections. The hope is that these drones will be useful in spotting potential problems before they become serious.
Emerging Tech

Transplanted pig hearts show promise in baboon trials. Are humans next?

Researchers in Germany have successfully transplanted modified pig hearts into baboons. The results take us one step closer to ending organ transplant waiting lists for good. Here's why.