With an eye to the development of a wider commercial space market beyond the needs of ferrying crews to the International Space Station (ISS), Boeing has revealed a new commercial interior concept for its Crew Space Transportation (CST-100) manned space capsule.
The design, which builds on earlier concepts developed with cabin interior specialists from the company’s Commercial Airplanes arm, was unveiled at a joint event with Boeing’s Las Vegas-based space transport partner Bigelow Aerospace. The two have teamed to explore and develop broader commercial opportunities in space based on the CST-100, which Boeing is developing for NASA, and the multipurpose, inflatable BA 330 commercial space habitat in development by Bigelow.
The new-look interior includes concepts for secure personal and shared stowage; collapsible seating; Boeing Sky Interior lighting, which now equips most new-build 737s; a large, electronic display to view the outside; and an integrated, simplified pilot console with large displays. The interior also features a deployable lavatory area, as well as tablet technology for crew interfaces and docking, and even provision for wireless Internet for passenger connectivity via email, social media and entertainment.
“We have to consider our potential customers – beyond NASA – and what they need in a future commercial spacecraft interior,” says Chris Ferguson, Boeing’s director of crew and mission operations for the Commercial Crew Program.
Boeing’s baseline CST-100 capsule design, developed as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capability initiative, is on target for a critical design review in July. The vehicle is currently configured to carry up to five astronauts for the ISS mission but is designed for as many as seven. The CST-100, which is due to undergo a pad abort test at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., in late 2015, is competing for the ISS mission against Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser lifting body and SpaceX’s Dragon. The Dream Chaser  is being refurbished with upgraded software and guidance, navigation and control systems for air tow-and-release flight tests in the third quarter. A spaceworthy version is under construction by Lockheed Martin for an uncrewed orbital demonstration flight scheduled for November 2016. The SpaceX Dragon is scheduled for an integrated vehicle CDR in May, a pad abort test in June, and an inflight abort test from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., in August.
Bigelow has also unveiled a full-scale model of its BA 330 habitat for low Earth orbit. Designed with 330 cubic meters of pressurized volume, the module can hold up to six astronauts. Bigelow, which is also developing a deep-space version dubbed the BA 330-DS with added radiation protection features, says the baseline habitat will be configured with a variety of thrusters. One propulsion module system will be powered by monopropellant hydrazine, while the second propulsion system will use gaseous hydrogen and oxygen that can be refilled through the Environmental Control and Life Support oxygen generation system. The BA 330 will also be equipped with two photo-voltaic arrays and two radiator arrays.