Spaceflight Insider

Meet Crew Dragon: narrated tour of design features, design history

Crew Dragon capsule, about to fly atop a Falcon 9 as part of the Demo-2 mission with two humans aboard, is a great advance in the field of spacecraft design. Join us for a quick tour of the essential design elements and differences, as illustrated by contributor Derek Richardson.

Dragon 2 has been in development under the Commercial Crew Program since 2010. While its design was initially based on the first Dragon spacecraft, it has since been significantly improved upon.

Like Dragon 1, the SpaceX Crew Dragon has two parts, a capsule and a trunk. The capsule is 3.7 meters wide and about 4.5 meters tall with an internal volume of about 9.3 cubic meters. At the top of the capsule is a reusable nose cone that articulates on a hinge to reveal a docking port.

On the sidewalls are four pairs of SuperDraco engines that are only used to push the capsule away from its Falcon 9 launcher in the event of a failure.

The unpressurized trunk is slightly different from its predecessor in that it has solar cells and radiators embedded into the side of the structure rather than on deployable panels. Additionally, there are four aerodynamic fins to help stabilize the spacecraft in the event of a launch abort. #CrewDragon #SpaceX #LaunchAmerica #DM2


Sean Costello is a technology professional who also researches, writes about and speaks publicly on the inspiring lessons within international space flight program. Prior to joining SpaceFlight Insider in early 2014, Costello was a freelance photographer and correspondent covering shuttle-era Kennedy Space Center launches for various radio and print news organizations.

Reader Comments

Well guess what. SpaceX is going to fly people to orbit and the ISS using their ‘hobby rocket’.
Where are all the naysayers now? Perhaps at home eating their humble pie.
Would be gratifying to have then own up to being completely wrong about SpaceX and to acknowledge them as a serious space vehicle construction and launch company.
Let’s face facts. They are about to create history, again.
All the very best to them and NASA without whom they could not have made the progress they have and as EM has consistently stated ‘saved their bacon’. back in the days of F1.

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