CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The first astronauts launched by SpaceX are breaking new ground for style with hip spacesuits, gull-wing Teslas and a sleek rocketship — all of it white with black trim.
The color coordinating is thanks to Elon Musk, the driving force behind both SpaceX and Tesla, and a big fan of flash and science fiction.
NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken like the fresh new look. They'll catch a ride to the launch pad in a Tesla Model X electric car.
“It is really neat, and I think the biggest testament to that is my 10-year-old son telling me how cool I am now,” Hurley told The Associated Press.
“SpaceX has gone all out" on the capsule's appearance, he said. "And they’ve worked equally as hard to make the innards and the displays and everything else in the vehicle work to perfection.”
The true test comes Wednesday when Hurley and Behnken climb aboard a SpaceX Dragon capsule atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and, equipment and weather permitting, shoot into space. It will be the first astronaut launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center since the last shuttle flight in 2011.
It will also mark the first attempt by a private company to send astronauts into orbit. Only governments — Russia, the U.S., and China — have done that.
The historic send-off deserves to look good, according to SpaceX. It already has a nice ring. Musk named his rocket after the “Star Wars” Millennium Falcon. The capsule name stems from “Puff the Magic Dragon,” Musk’s jab at all the doubters when he started SpaceX in 2002.