SpaceX has finished the seventh major funding milestone under NASA's second commercial crew development programme (CCDev II), the crew accommodation concept and trial plan for its Dragon capsule.

"This milestone demonstrated the layout of the crew cabin supports critical tasks," says SpaceX CCDev manager Garrett Reisman. "It also demonstrated the Dragon interior has been designed to maximize the ability of the seven-member crew to do their job as effectively as possible."

Reaching the milestone effectively demonstrates that the layout of the Dragon capsule is acceptable. Dragon is meant to carry up to seven astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).

SpaceX has submitted a bid for the CCDev II follow-on, called commercial crew integrated capability (CCiCap), which will be awarded later in 2012. Winning a CCiCap bid would effectively fund Dragon's development to operational capability.

An unmanned version of Dragon is preparing for its first flight to ISS, scheduled for 19 May launch, with docking shortly thereafter.

Source: Flight International