SpaceX has begun with testing its first spaceship that will be able to carry astronauts in space.
The Crew Dragon spaceship is one of the first privately built space capsules which will be used by NASA to carry astronauts to the International Space Station.
The capsule now is going through its final testing before its uncrewed test launch which is scheduled for this summer.
A photo published by SpaceX shows what kind of tests the Crew Dragon is undergoing. The photo also shows that the tests are carried out at NASA Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio.
The facility, which is overseen by NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, has a massive thermal vacuum chamber that according to NASA is “the world’s only facility capable of testing full-scale upper-stage launch vehicles and rocket engines under simulated high-altitude conditions.”
The tests are ensuring if the spacecraft can survive the extreme temperatures and vacuum of space.
“Once complete, Crew Dragon will travel to Kennedy Space Center in Florida ahead of its first flight,” SpaceX representatives stated last week.
On May 20, SpaceX shared a photo showing the Crew Dragon spaceship being tested for electromagnetic interference at another facility, the NASA’s anechoic chamber at the Kennedy Space Center.
Meanwhile, Boeing is developing its own spaceship that will also carry astronauts to space. Both Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and the Crew Dragon can carry up to seven astronauts.
Crew Dragon will be launched on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets, while the Starliner will be taken to space on the Atlas V rockets built by the United Launch Alliance.
Boeing’s Starliner is expected to make its first crewed launch in November, while the Crew Dragon is scheduled for a month later, in December.
Since NASA retired its space shuttle fleet in July 2011, the agency is using Russian Soyuz rockets and spaceships to fly U.S. astronauts in space.