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SpaceX's Crew Dragon Space Capsule Explained (Infographic)

Already tested as a cargo carrier, the Dragon spacecraft can also be fitted out to shuttle passengers to low orbit and to the International Space Station.
Already tested as a cargo carrier, the Dragon spacecraft can also be fitted out to shuttle passengers to low orbit and to the International Space Station. (Image credit: Karl Tate, SPACE.com Contributor)

SpaceX's manned Dragon space capsule is a private spacecraft designed to carry seven astronauts on missions to and from low-Earth orbit. The Dragon spacecraft is a gumdrop-shaped capsule powered by two solar arrays. It is a crewed version of the robotic Dragon spacecraft developed by SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies) of Hawthorne, Calif. 

The manned Dragon capsule, like its unmanned predecessor, will launch into space atop SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, which lifts off from pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The space capsule is one of several candidates to serve NASA's needs of transporting astronauts to and from the International Space Station. It could also be used to fly completely private flights for customers, SpaceX officials have said. 

The SuperDraco escape system planned for the Dragon spacecraft is expected to allow land landings for the capsule. Such a system could be employed for landings on other planets, including Mars. The system could also be used for land landings on Earth to allow capsule reusability in the future, SpaceX officials have said.

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Karl Tate

Karl's association with Space.com goes back to 2000, when he was hired to produce interactive Flash graphics. From 2010 to 2016, Karl worked as an infographics specialist across all editorial properties of Purch (formerly known as TechMediaNetwork).  Before joining Space.com, Karl spent 11 years at the New York headquarters of The Associated Press, creating news graphics for use around the world in newspapers and on the web.  He has a degree in graphic design from Louisiana State University and now works as a freelance graphic designer in New York City.