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'This is Certainly Different': Astronauts on Controlling the Dragon Spacecraft Via Touchscreen


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Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley train on the new controls.

Astronauts manning SpaceXs Crew Dragon capsule to fly to the International Space Station later this month will control the capsule using a new touchscreen.

Credit: U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration

The astronauts manning SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule to fly to the International Space Station (ISS) later this month will control the capsule using a touchscreen, rather than with traditional dials and buttons.

Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley have spent many hours in simulators, and collaborated with SpaceX from early on to design the new spacecraft controls.

A prototype Crew Dragon, piloted both autonomously and remotely, has already visited the ISS and returned.

The touchscreen design situates all controls and readouts in the same place, and it is easier to implement a software update in the new system than it was previously, when the pots of 20 different knobs on the control panel might need to be rewired manually.

Said Hurley, "It was challenging for us and for (SpaceX) at first to work through those different design issues, but we got to a point where the vehicle, from the manual flying standpoint with the touchscreen, flies very well."

From TechCrunch
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