On Twitter today, Inspiration4 shared a first real look at the Dragon capsule’s cupola that will allow them to have an immersive view of the Earth below throughout the mission.
We first learned that Crew Dragon Resilience would be outfitted with a cupola back in March. SpaceX has been hard at work preparing for the new piece of hardware. The cupola sits under the nose cone, in place of the usual docking adapter. As the Inspiration4 mission will not be visiting the International Space Station or docking with any other spacecraft during the three days, the docking adapter is unnecessary.
The team went to see the Cupola out in California, but it has since been shipped to Florida and integrated onto Dragon Capsule Resilience.
The cupola looks very similar to the render we saw, with two key differences, the curvature and four extrusions that go up the side of the capsule.
The real cupola on Dragon seems to have a shallower curvature than the initial render, while a thicker multi-layer material means they can’t go quite as far into the capsule.
The black sections that partially cover the window are even more interesting. They don’t seem to be spread evenly, 90° apart around the cupola. They instead seem to be lined up with the forward thrusters on Dragon, as seen in the NASA photo below. This could be to protect to cupola from the thrusters.
Inspiration4 is getting closer to launch. As of now, they are just 14 days away from launching into space on their three-day journey. In just a few days, we will get a look at the first two episodes of the five-part Inspiration4 documentary on Netflix. The documentary will provide a look at the four crew members, the training they undergo, and then follow their journey into space and back home.
Featured image credit: SpaceX/Inspiration4