SpaceX has just been inspired by a new idea for its Crew Dragon spacecraft, yes, a glass dome that will let the astronauts enjoy panoramic views of the surroundings in space. The closest largest object will be Earth, so this will give a fantastic view of our home planet from this space observatory.
This glass dome-equipped version of the Crew Dragon (Dragon 2) will be used for the Inspiration4 civilian space mission for the first time. Inspiration4 will send four civilian astronauts into space for the first time in human spaceflight history.
As we can see in the following closeup of the Crew Dragon glass dome concept render by SpaceX, the astronaut is shown taking photos from space.
This space dome observatory will act as a huge spacesuit or glass helmet that eliminates the need of jumping out of the spaceship for taking a good look outside or towards nearby planets and objects. Since this mission mostly consists of observation into space, this new glass dome design will further enhance the experience of astronauts as well as give us some new stunning photos and footage.
The Inspiration4 private spaceflight mission is financed and commanded by entrepreneur, adventure, and pilot Jared Isaacman, the CEO of Shift4 payments. He and three other crew members will fly to the low Earth orbit (LEO) no sooner than later Q4 2021.
“Jared keeps saying it’s incredibly important to recognize that these are everyday people [who] get to go to space, and that gives me goosebumps even right now talking about it, but the fact that we can give everyday people the coolest window that’s ever flown – that’s awesome,” Benji Reed, SpaceX’s director of crew mission management, said during the Mar 30th Inspiration4 news conference (video below).
Inspiration4 is the world’s first all-civilian mission to space. The mission will be commanded by Jared Isaacman, the 37-year-old founder and Chief Executive Officer of Shift4 Payments and an accomplished pilot and adventurer. Inspiration4 will leave Earth from Kennedy Space Center’s historic Launch Complex 39A, the embarkation point for Apollo and Space Shuttle missions, and travel across a low earth orbit on a multi-day journey that will continually eclipse more than 90% of the earth’s population. Named in recognition of the four-person crew that will raise awareness and funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, this milestone represents a new era for human spaceflight and exploration.Source: Inspiration4 Mission website
The Dragon spacecraft is capable of carrying up to 7 passengers to and from Earth orbit, and beyond. It is the only spacecraft currently flying that is capable of returning significant amounts of cargo to Earth, and is the first private spacecraft to take humans to the space station.
HEIGHT 8.1 m / 26.7 ft
DIAMETER 4 m / 13 ft
CAPSULE VOLUME 9.3 m³ / 328 ft³
TRUNK VOLUME 37 m³ / 1,300 ft³
LAUNCH PAYLOAD MASS 6,000 kg / 13,228 lbs
RETURN PAYLOAD MASS 3,000 kg / 6,614 lbs
Crew Dragon is a tried and tested spacecraft made by the excellent rocket engineers at SpaceX. This is the historic spaceship that took astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station last year. This was the moment when human spaceflight returned to the United States after more than a decade.